Robbert Dijkgraaf

Contributing Columnist

Illustration showing orange building blocks outside a doorway that opens onto blue towers made up of similar building blocks.
Quantized Columns

Contemplating the End of Physics

November 24, 2020

Has physics reached the limits of what we can discover — or are the possibilities only just beginning?

Illustration showing an austere number line on one side and various interesting objects on the the other, including a dodecahedron, an armillary sphere, flowers and plants.
Quantized Columns

The Two Forms of Mathematical Beauty

June 16, 2020

Mathematicians typically appreciate either generic or exceptional beauty in their work, but one type is more useful in describing the universe.

Photo of Freeman Dyson standing in a meadow in front of a forest
Quantized Columns

Remembering the Unstoppable Freeman Dyson

April 13, 2020

Freeman Dyson — physicist, mathematician, writer and idea factory — died on February 28, but his vitality lives on.

Art for "The Subtle Art of the Mathematical Conjecture"
Quantized Columns

The Subtle Art of the Mathematical Conjecture

May 7, 2019

It’s an educated guess, not a proof. But a good conjecture will guide math forward, pointing the way into the mathematical unknown.

Quantized Columns

There Are No Laws of Physics. There’s Only the Landscape.

June 4, 2018

Scientists seek a single description of reality. But modern physics allows for many different descriptions, many equivalent to one another, connected through a vast landscape of mathematical possibility.

Emergent reductionism flower
Quantized Columns

To Solve the Biggest Mystery in Physics, Join Two Kinds of Law

September 7, 2017

Reductionism breaks the world into elementary building blocks. Emergence finds the simple laws that arise out of complexity. These two complementary ways of viewing the universe come together in modern theories of quantum gravity.

Illustration: diver searching for new math
Quantized Columns

Quantum Questions Inspire New Math

March 30, 2017

In order to fully understand the quantum world, we may have to develop a new realm of mathematics.

About the author

Robbert Dijkgraaf is director and Leon Levy Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He is an author, with Abraham Flexner, of The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge.