Short biography

Robbert Dijkgraaf, was the Director of the Institute for Advanced Study and Leon Levy Professor since July 2012 until 2021, is a mathematical physicist who has made significant contributions to string theory and the advancement of science education. His research focuses on the interface between mathematics and particle physics. In addition to finding surprising and deep connections between matrix models, topological string theory, and supersymmetric quantum field theory, Dijkgraaf has developed precise formulas for the counting of bound states that explain the entropy of certain black holes. For his contributions to science, 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.


Past President (2008–12) of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and past Co-Chair (2009–17) of the InterAcademy Council, 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 website––are at the interface between science and society. In 2017, Princeton University Press published The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge  in which Dijkgraaf and IAS founding Director Abraham Flexner articulate how essential basic research and original thinking are to innovation and societal progress, a belief that has informed the mission of the Institute for nearly ninety years.





  • Director 
  • Visitor: Natural Sciences
    1/2002–4/2002 Spring
  • Member: Natural Science
  • Utrecht University
    Ph.D., 1989
  • Utrecht University
    M.Sc., 1986
  • Utrecht University
    B.Sc., 1982
  • Appointments:
  • InterAcademy Partnership, President 2014–17
  • InterAcademy Council, Co-Chair 2009–17
  • Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, President 2008–12
  • Second Innovation Platform (chaired by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands), Member 2007–10
  • Comenius Prize 2012
  • Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion 2012
  • Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, Spinoza Prize 2003
  • Netherlands Physical Society, Physica Prize 2002
  • Radboud University Nijmegen, Honorary Doctorate 2013
  • Academia Europaea
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • American Philosophical Society
  • American Mathematical Society
  • Netherlands Physical Society
  • Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Royal Netherlands Chemical Society; Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • University of Amsterdam:
    • - Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics 1992 – 07-01-2022
    • - Distinguished University Professor of Mathematical Physics 2005–2004
    • - Professor 1992–2004
  • Princeton University 1989–1991 Research Associate

website IAS

Robbert Dijkgraaf