Peter van Nieuwenhuizen

Stony Brook University

2019 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

For the invention of supergravity, in which quantum variables are part of the description of the geometry of spacetime.


That’s why I have given in to magic...
To know what makes the world tick... (Goethe, Faust)

This is first of all a prize for the 43-year-old theory of supergravity and the 1000 physicists who have worked in it. I would like to thank Dan Freedman and Sergio Ferrara, and my more than 120 collaborators. Our endless blackboard calculations till late at night in old physics buildings, despair when calculations turned out wrong, confusion that turned after hard work into more confusion - it has been a wonderful life. I also want to thank my past and present colleagues at Stony Brook, in particular Martin Roček and Warren Siegel, for their always immediate and generous help whenever I needed it. Also thanks to the hundreds of graduate students who have made teaching advanced graduate courses the love of my life. Old physicists may fade away, but science remains. Science is a rock of truth in a sea of fake news. Science is culture and it opens windows to what makes the world tick. Let us hope that Nature is aware of our efforts.

Peter van Nieuwenhuizen