Academy's Lorentz Medal for Edward Witten

25 May 2010

On 28 June, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science will award Edward Witten, professor at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, USA) the Lorentz Medal.

Edward Witten is receiving this award for his pioneering contributions to the mathematical description of fundamental forces and elementary particles,in particular string theory.The jury, chaired by physicist Carlo Beenakker, calls Witten the most influential theoretical physicist of the past three decades.

Edward Witten

From the jury report: "Edward Witten is clearly the most influential theoretical physicist of the past three decades. He has authored more than 300 publications in quantum field theory, string theory, and mathematical physics. His work combines a profound understanding of physics, mathematical elegance, and remarkable clarity of argument. His countless contributions to physics as well as mathematics cover a broad range of original and pioneering discoveries and theoretical models. He has surpassed all other modern scientists in bridging the gap between mathematics and physics, and in doing so has made extremely important contributions to both fields of science."

"There is no doubt that Edward Witten has played as influential a role in the development of physics as Hendrik Antoon Lorentz," says jury chairman Carlo Beenakker. His leadership in this branch of science makes him a worthy recipient of the Lorentz Medal.

The Lorentz Medal will be presented to Edward Witten on Monday 28 June at the Trippenhuis Building, Kloveniersburgwal 29, Amsterdam, Netherlands. The programme begins at 4.30 p.m. and will conclude at 5.30 p.m. Academy President Robbert Dijkgraaf will deliver the presentation address. Professor Witten will then present a lecture entitled String theory and the Universe.

Press representatives may register until Friday 25 June by sending an e-mail to We hope to see you on 28 June 2010.

About Edward Witten

Edward Witten received his BA from Brandeis University in 1971 and his PhD from Princeton University in 1976. After postdoctoral studies at Harvard University, he joined the faculty at Princeton in 1980 and at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1987. His awards include the US National Medal of Science, the Fields Medal, and the Crafoord Prize.

About the Lorentz Medal

The Academy founded the Lorentz Medal in 1925, the year in which Hendrik Antoon Lorentz celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his doctorate. Lorentz (1853-1928), a Nobel laureate, was the founding father of theoretical physics in the Netherlands. The solid gold Lorentz Medal is awarded every four years to researchers who have made outstanding contributions to theoretical physics. Of the nineteen recipients, eleven were later awarded a Nobel Prize.

About the Royal Academy

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) is the forum, conscience and voice of science and scholarship in the Netherlands. It derives its authority from the quality of its members. As an independent organisation, the Academy safeguards the quality and interests of science and scholarship and advises the Dutch government. It is also responsible for nineteen internationally renowned institutes whose research and collections put them in the vanguard of Dutch science and scholarship. Thanks to their work, the Academy is the leading authority of the Dutch research community and its foremost representative.