Robbert Dijkgraaf (born January 24, 1960) is a Dutch mathematical physicist and string theorist.
Dijkgraaf started his studies in physics at the Utrecht University in 1978. After completing his 'kandidaatsexamen' (at the time the Dutch equivalent to the Anglo-Saxon Bachelor's degree) in 1982 he briefly turned away from physics because he didn't feel challenged enough, to pursue painting at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. He later continued his studies at the Utrecht University, where he studied under under Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft to obtain his doctorate in 1989 (cum laude).
Subsequently, Dijkgraaf held positions at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Studies. In 1992, he was appointed professor at the University of Amsterdam, where he held the chair of mathematical physics, until he became 'University professor' in 2005.
His research focuses on string theory and the interface of mathematics and physics in general. He is most well-known for his work on topological string theory and matrix models, and has given name to the Dijkgraaf-Witten invariants and the Witten-Dijkgraaf-Verlinde-Verlinde formula.
In 2003, Dijkgraaf was awarded the Spinozapremie, and in doing so he became the first recipient of the award whose advisor also was a recipient ('t Hooft received the first spinozapremie in 1995).
In the Netherlands, Dijkgraaf is also popularizer of the hard sciences. He frequently appears on national television as an 'expert'. He has a (monthly) column in the NRC Handelsblad newspaper. He also used part of his Spinozapremie grant to setup the website Proefjes.nl.
Dijkgraaf is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. Since May 1st 2008 he is president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dijkgraaf is married and has three children.
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