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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University

An Undergraduate Lunch with 1999 Nobel Laureate in Physics
Gerardus 't Hooft

November 2, 2011

To me, Nature is a big jig-saw puzzle, and I see it as my task to try to fit pieces of it together. -Gerardus 't Hooft

Gerardus 't Hooft is a Dutch theoretical physicist and professor at Utrecht University whose work has focused on gauge theory, black holes, quantum gravity, and quantum mechanics. The Nobel, which he won with his thesis advisor, Martinus J.G. Veltman, is one of many honors he has received, including the Wolf and Spinoza prizes and the Lorentz and Franklin medals. The asteroid 9491 Thooft was named in his honor and he has written a constitution for its inhabitants: (found here).

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On campus to deliver the physics department's Konopinski Lecture, 't Hooft addressed in his lecture such questions as, Does Einstein's gravity theory need to be refined? Where do we start improving existing theories in quantum mechanics? What are the secrets the fundamental building block of matter still have for us?

His website reports on his many other activities, including writing a book called Playing with Planets, a fairy tale about his experiences with Windows Vista, his theories (and bets) on whether theoretical physics can explain paranormal phenomena, his views on religion, his arguments as to why establishing "a thriving human colony on the Moon" should precede human exploration of Mars, and much more.

Professor 't Hooft was on campus to deliver a Konopinski Lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m., in Woodburn 100 on the topic "From the Standard Model to Quantum Gravity." The lecture, open to all, was sponsored by the IU Department of Physics.

Professor 't Hooft answering a student question after the lunch.

Professor Gerardo Ortiz from the IU Department of Physics helped coordinate 't Hoofts visit to campus.

A Physics student stays after to discuss some questions with Professor 't Hooft.

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