‘t Hooft Nobel Lecture: Black Holes in Elementary Physics

September 15, 2010

Who: Gerard ‘t Hooft (Universiteit Utrecht)
When: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 16:00
Where: O100

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In Physics, black holes are known as extremely dense forms of matter, of which, from the outside, only the gravitational force can be
detected. Astronomers observe such object ate various spots in the Universe.
When in laboratories on earth elementary particles are made to collide with the strongest possible force, these collisions are by far not energetic enough to produce black holes. However, we can try to imagine collisions that are so energetic that black holes do form, and then ask ourselves what exactly might happen then. The question is important because it turns out that our theoretical understanding falls short at this point. The gravitational force is so special that all beautiful theories we have today about the particles and the forces between them cannot describe it. Do black holes obey the laws of quantum mechanics? Are black holes also subatomic particles and vice versa? If so, our theories must be revised. This can lead to fundamental new insights about very basic features in physics, and give us new tools to describe space, time, and matter.

Professor Gerard ‘t Hooft

Professor Gerard ‘t Hooft is a theoretical physicist at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He shared the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics with Martinus J. G. Veltman for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions. He was awarded the Lorentz Medal in 1986 and the Spinozapremie in 1995.

Public Lecture

Prof. ‘t Hooft gives a lecture on Black Holes in Elementary Physics. The lecture is intended for the general public. Everybody is welcome to attend. You do not need to register for the lecture, and entrance is free. Refreshments will be served before the lecture.

More Information

The Nobel Lecture is held together with the 3rd Odense Winter School on Geometry and Theoretical Physics – look at the home page of the winter school for travel information, accommodation, etc.


A PDF version of our poster can be found by following this link.


Gerard ‘t Hooft (Utrecht University)
Black Holes in Elementary Physics