The Natural Inspiration of Mathematics

Article ID: 613889

Released: 18-Feb-2014 10:40 AM EST

Source Newsroom: Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

  • Credit: Princeton

    Join Dr. Robbert Dijkgraaf at the March 5 Perimeter Institute Public Lecture to explore how ideas from quantum physics are putting modern mathematical ideas in a natural context.

Newswise — February 18, 2014 (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) – Galileo mused that in order to understand the universe, we must first understand the language that it is written in. That language? Mathematics. But, if we look to the universe first we can see the ways it has inspired new approaches to even the purest mathematics. Using ideas from quantum field theory, elementary particle physics and string theory we are able to solve deep problems in incredible ways.

On Wednesday March 5, 2015 as part of Perimeter Institute’s Public Lecture Series presented by Sun Life Financial, joint Dr. Robbert Dijkgraaf to explore how ideas from quantum physics are putting modern mathematical ideas in a natural context.

Robbert Dijkgraaf is a Director and Leon Levy Professor of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. The Institute is one of the world's leading centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry and exists to encourage and support fundamental research in the sciences and humanities. Dijkgraaf is a mathematical physicist who has made significant contributions to string theory and to the advancement of science education. His research focuses on the interface between mathematics and particle physics.

He is Past President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and, since 2009, has been the Co-Chair of the Interacademy Council, the global alliance of academies of sciences advising the United Nations and other international organizations.

Dijkgraaf is a distinguished public policy adviser and passionate advocate for science and the arts. Many of his activities – which have included frequent appearances on television, a monthly newspaper column in NRC Handelsblad, several books for general audiences, and the launch of the science education – are at the interface between science and society.

For his contributions to science and his leadership and outreach in science education and public policy, Dijkgraaf was awarded the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific award in the Netherlands, in 2003. He was named a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion in 2012 and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Dijkgraaf’s lecture, entitled “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Quantum Physics in Modern Mathematics,” will be held on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM EST in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Tickets will be available online starting February 18, 2014.

You can view past public lectures and events online here. Further details can be found at


Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, non-profit, scientific research organization working to advance our understanding of physical laws and develop new ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter, and information. Located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Perimeter also provides a wide array of research training and educational outreach activities to nurture scientific talent and share the importance of discovery and innovation among students, teachers, and the general public. In partnership with the Governments of Ontario and Canada, Perimeter is a successful example of public-private collaboration in scientific research, training, and outreach.


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