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Named chair for Prof. Bergshoeff

10 December 2009

The University of Groningen has appointed Prof. E.A. Bergshoeff to the ‘De Sitter’ chair in Theoretical Physics. Bergshoeff is honored with this named chair because of his internationally renowned scientific contributions of extraordinary character, in specific to what is now known as the M- theory. Named chairs are specifically installed to recognize one’s excellence as a professor and are therefore named after an internationally known scientist in history.

Alternative string theory

Bergshoeff is professor at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. After his PhD he worked at the Brandeis University in Boston (US), at the ICTP in Triëste (Italy) and at the CERN in Geneva (Switzerland). In 1986 he and his collegues Sezgin and Townsend published a now well-known article in which they proposed an alternative idea on the string theory. They argued that it was mathematically possible to use membranes in stead of strings. Later on this idea developed into the M-theory that was applied in many unsuspected ways by different disciplines.

Bergshoeff works at the University of Groningen since 1991. He was awarded the Nicolaas Mulerius stipendium in 2006. He published over 135 articles and is linked to several Dutch as well as international organizations in the field of physics. The inauguration of the named chair was celebrated with a symposium called ‘The Quantum Universe’.

Einstein-De Sitter model

Willem de Sitter (1872-1934), namebarer of the chair, studied mathematics and physics at the university of Groningen. De Sitter made major contributions to the field of physical cosmology. He co-authored a paper with Albert Einstein in 1932 in which they argued that there might be large amounts of matter which do not emit light, now commonly referred to as dark matter. He also came up with the concept of the de Sitter space and de Sitter universe, a solution for Einstein's general relativity in which there is no matter and a positive cosmological constant.

Last modified:31 January 2017 11.13 p.m.
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