Assorted Press and Outreach Material
George Musser has a new article over at Nautilus, called "The case for
fewer dimensions". We stumbled upon this phenomenon in
Causal Dynamical Triangulations many years ago: making computer measurements of
nonperturbative quantum spacetime to understand its properties, we found that its (spectral)
dimension at very short scales is not four, as one would expect for a classical spacetime, but
more like two. Many other researchers in quantum gravity have picked up on this idea, and have
looked for (and often found) such "dimensional reduction" also in their models of quantum gravity.
A really delightful piece of news is my recent election to the
Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW),
the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Here is the Radboud's news item (in Dutch).
Dutch national daily Volkskrant has published a
about my quantum gravity research, with journalist Martijn van Calmthout making a real effort to get to grips with
the subject matter. It's possible we got just a little bit carried away; judge for yourself
A consortium of high-energy and mathematical physicists at IMAPP here at the Radboud University
has just won funding for a new initiative "Quantum gravity and the search for quantum
spacetime" from Dutch funding body FOM. Suffice it to say, we are delighted! FOM's press
here, and the university's news item
Over at Nature News Features, Zeeya Merali wrote about
various ideas pursued by theoretical physicists on
The origins of space and time, including the idea to
obtain quantum gravity and quantum spacetime nonperturbatively
from Causal Dynamical Triangulations. The article also links to
a lovely movie of triangulated geometries made by my collaborator Timothy Budd.
(29 Aug 2013)
I got a friendly welcome at the Radboud University in the form of an article
written by Anja van Kessel in the
December issue of the "Radboud Magazine".
She managed to elicit a variety of comments from a number of prominent colleagues
of mine ... (in Dutch).
In December 2012 we had a
really great conference
here at the Radboud, entitled
"The Search for Quantum Gravity: CDT and Friends". If you want a conference
where you get excited by each single talk, you must organize it yourself! Thanks
to all the friends who came from near and far to help make this event a great
On 15 Nov 2012 I was studio guest of the radio program "Hoe?Zo!" of Dutch Radio 5, chatting
about the "big questions" (in fundamental physics, that is) with host Pieter van der Wielen;
you can listen to the whole broadcast
here (in Dutch).
On 29 Oct 2012 I took part in the
"Avond van Wetenschap en Maatschappij",
an annual get-together of researchers and VIPs from other branches
of society, to discuss current topics of mutual interest. My contribution
to the evening's proceedings, which you can find
here, elicited an "honourable mention"
from the outgoing minister of EL&I (Economics, Agriculture and Innovation).
It is no longer a rumour: I have moved from beautiful Utrecht University to the
even more beautiful
Radboud University in Nijmegen. The official announcement can be found
this is what Utrecht's university newspaper had to say.
"Are there more than three dimensions?" is a question posed in the current season of
the US-American TV series
"Through the Wormhole" with Morgan Freeman. In it,
I advocate that rather than acquiring extra dimensions,
spacetime may undergo a decrease in dimensionality on very short scales.
The episode, recently aired on the Science Channel, can be watched
here (from 36:15 min).
If you are interested in a nontechnical introduction to research on quantum gravity
in terms of Causal Dynamical Triangulations by my colleagues and me, you may want to have a look at our
article "Quantum Gravity, from the Entropy of Geometries", which appeared in the Apr 2011 edition of
A Christmas supplement of the Dutch daily Volkskrant dealt with the "core" of a number of subjects from ecology to hooligans to
software. I was interviewed on the issue of space and time.
The text of the article has been archived
here (24 Dec 2010, in Dutch).
The New Scientist recently published a
news story about Dimensional Reduction in Quantum Gravity,
of the type first observed in our research program of "Causal Dynamical Triangulations". (22 Sep 2010,
written by Rachel Courtland.)
In Sep 2010, Utrecht University's Studium Generale celebrated its 50th anniversary
with an evening of invited short lectures on a variety of topics; I contributed
one on "time". They also produced
a cute introductory clip for everyone; you can admire mine on
Recently, Marion de Boo interviewed me for the NWO's new glossy yearbook
which came out in Jul 2010. On pp.26/27 you can see me playing with my triangles.
Here is another interview, in which Bauke Vermaas had me talk for the
about physics, life and the universe. The interview
has appeared in their Apr 2010 edition, which you can find
here (in Dutch).
In Apr 2010 I received the good news
that my research proposal "Ironing out the Quantum Wrinkles of Spacetime" will be funded by FOM.
The proposed research will explore the concept of curvature in the context of nonperturbative
Since Apr 2010, I am heading the
Dutch Research School of Theoretical Physics (DRSTP), a co-operation of
theoretical physics groups at various Dutch institutions of higher education.
Some of the dilemmas of our current university system were considered
in this article in Transfer 5 (Feb 2010), written up by Robert Visscher.
Here I am, on
Dutch TV program "Wetenschapsquiz" (Science Quiz) explaining to the nation
what quantum gravity is all about ... (after 18:00 min, in Dutch).
In Dec 2009 my master student Bas Fagginger Auer was awarded that year's Student Prize of
Dutch research cluster on "Geometry and Quantum Theory" for his master thesis on
"Spatially Homogeneous Universes".
In Oct 2009 I was appointed as one of the Perimeter Institute's
Distinguished Research Chairs, which will give me the opportunity to spend some
quality time at this great hub for theoretical physics.
It was great fun speaking at Utrecht's
Studium Generale about wormholes and other bizarre matters in Mar 2009. Miriam Rasch has written up
summary of the event (in Dutch).
Update Sep 2010: in the meantime, a
YouTube movie summarizing the complete set of lectures has appeared (in Dutch).
I was appointed to join the "Raad van Bestuur" (Board of Governors) of the Dutch
Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) in 2009. The board consists of members
from both academia and industry and advises FOM on all important matters regarding science
In 2009, I was nominated by
ScienceGuide, e-publication for higher education, to be among the top-10 of
"driven, innovative and inspiring" people in technology and the natural sciences in the Netherlands.
Here is the audio-visual tour (cool) and
this is the announcement from Utrecht University's press office.
If you are looking for a painless introduction to the ideas and results of the quantum gravity
theory coming out of "Causal Dynamical Triangulations", try our July 2008
full feature article in the Scientific American.
In 2008 I wrote an opinion piece for the FOM Expres, a regular publication by
FOM, the Dutch
Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter.
It is entitled "The beauty, power and charme of the F", and you can find it
here (in Dutch).
I also took part in a related
podium discussion organized by FOM on 1 Oct 2008 in Utrecht's Geldmuseum.
In July 2008 my research proposal "A reality check
for quantum cosmology" was awarded funding by FOM.
The proposed research will try to elucidate the theoretical foundations of
quantum cosmology from the nonperturbative viewpoint of a full theory of quantum
is a semi-popular essay about the self-organizing nature of
non-perturbative quantum gravity, exhibited by
the approach of Causal Dynamical Triangulations.
cover story of the New Scientist of May 2008, written
by Amanda Gefter, looked at "radical new routes" to understanding quantum gravity,
and prominently featured the research work of my group on Causal Dynamical
Triangulations. You may also read it
I have been interviewed by Geertje Dekkers for the
Academische Boekengids (Academic Book Guide),
Holland's answer to the
NYRB, about my reading habits. You can read it all
this article (in Dutch).
A popular article on my research program in quantum gravity, entitled
"Quantum Space-Time from Nothing"
appeared in a special 2007 edition of
the German popular science journal
Spektrum der Wissenschaft (in German).
Some more thoughts on peaks in flatland have appeared in
article put together by Robert Visscher for the November 2007 issue of "Transfer",
a publication for international cooperation in higher education and research
I am honoured to be a member of Utrecht University's scientific
"Hall of Fame".
Maastricht's Sint-Janskerk was the venue of the opening session of the
WISER European Festival
(Women in Science, Education and Research) on 4 Oct 2007, where I gave one of the
In true Lutheran spirit, we started out by nailing
95 theses about women in science
to the entrance doors, which in excerpts were also published by Dutch national
On 7/8 Sep 2007, I organized a symposium
ENRAGEing Ideas, on the occasion of the midterm meeting of the
ENRAGE. Twelve speakers from all over the world presented their
favourite enraging physics ideas. We had a great time! You can find the speakers' presentations
The February 2007 issue of the
Scientific American devotes a
News Scan to the Causal Dynamical Triangulation approach to quantum
gravity, written by Mark Alpert. Read it in the print edition or
online (for subscribers).
I wrote an
about the landscape
of Dutch science, a slightly abbreviated version of which has appeared in the
NRC Handelsblad of 18 Nov 2006. The Dutch translation has
eliminated some of the (linguistic) peaks, inevitable maybe. Also,
I wasn't quite as unkind to the Germans. The original
text you can find
In 2006, the
NWO published a weighty
documenting highlights from across the Dutch scientific
landscape for the general public, the first in a new annual series.
You will find my scattered musings about the ultimate building blocks
of space and time, alongside those of two esteemed fellow scientists,
and, yes, a picture of one of our lovely fluctuating universes on
September 2006 edition of
Pandora, published by Utrecht University's
"Vrouwennetwerk", Anne-Marie van Gijtenbeek asks about my
experience and personal views of "women in physics". A recent
released by the US National Academies Press
contains a wealth of data on related matters.
In July 2006, the most prominent member of my institute,
Gerard 't Hooft, celebrated his
60th birthday, and I was involved in organizing
an international conference in his honour, called
Under the Spell of Physics.
The press release of Utrecht University can be found
Dutch edition, published an
in their issue of March 2006, conducted by Ed Croonenberg and Aschwin
Tenfelde. As behoves the journal's style, the emphasis is on trying to
explain some of my work in more popular terms (in Dutch).
In Dec 2005 a team of physics and maths students and myself
were nominated by the competition's jury to represent Utrecht University in the
for the "Academic Year-Prize" ("Academische Jaarprijs"),
which wants to promote the
popularization of current scientific research.
Our proposal, developed in collaboration with Dutch-Canadian artist
aimed to bring the invisible aspects of
empty space and time to a general audience in an unusual manner,
and to explain why physicists are so
interested in its structure. The jury considered our proposal "daring",
which may be taken as some form
of consolation for not winning first prize.
Utrecht's university newspaper Ublad in their edition of 13 Oct 2005
published "Op zoek naar de heilige graal", written
by their "old hand" Erik Hardeman (in Dutch, naturally).
In 2005 we celebrated the centenary of Albert Einstein's annus mirabilis,
the year 1905 in which he published a number of foundational theoretical works
of amazing breadth and depth. German TV channel
ZDF contributed to the many events during the
I took part in one of their
Nachtstudio productions which looked at Einstein's
scientific legacy and our current understanding of an ultimate unified theory.
with Hermann Nicolai on the status quo has appeared in the German weekly
The Dutch daily
NRC Handelsblad published
an article about me and my
on 22 Jan 2005, written by Dirk van Delft. Very nice.
And here is a
German translation, by Karola Loll.
Claus Kiefer wrote a review
of the derivation of four-dimensionality
for the January 2005 issue of Physik in unserer Zeit (in German).
Sonja Knols wrote a
about me and my work for Hypothese, the journal published quarter-annually by
NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research)
Fjodor Buis took Einstein's photograph.
What to do with all those
millions ... (Utrecht University press release, written
by Roy Meijer, in Dutch).
is a related English piece.
The story of how a four-dimensional universe can emerge from microscopic
of spacetime was picked up by Nature News, in an article written by Philip Ball.
A Dutch translation has
appeared here, and a related Germanic piece here.
After causal dynamical triangulations gave the first results on
gravity, Adrian Cho wrote a very nice summary of the work for
A short non-technical piece I wrote for the annual report 2003 of
FOM, the Dutch Foundation for Fundamental Research
on Matter, about the quantum structure of space-time
and my own work. And
here is another piece on how
quantum gravity explains four
dimensions , this one
from the FOM yearbook of 2004 (both kindly rendered into Dutch by Huub