Gravity, black holes, string theory and the universe

July 13, 2022Paradiso (Main Hall) Amsterdam
Blackhole 1600x740
Doors open: 19:30
Start programme: 19:45
Paradiso (Main Hall)
Weteringschans 6-8

Science & Cocktails is proud to present an episode with world renowned theoretical physicists and string theorists Hirosi Ooguri - professor at California Institute of Technology and at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo, and Andrew Strominger – professor at the University of Harvard. A journey through the mysteries of universe including gravity, the forces of nature, black holes and string theory.

What is gravity?

Gravity is the most familiar force in Nature. It binds us to the surface of Earth, and it is a key to our understanding of the Universe. It is also the most mysterious of all forces. In the past couple of decades, there have been remarkable discoveries in both theory and observations that have changed our view on space, time, and gravity. Hirosi Ooguri will give you a tour of the seven wonders of gravity and discusses these recent insights.

Black Holes: the Most Paradoxical Objects in the Universe

In the last decade black holes have come to center stage in both theoretical and observational science. Half a century ago, scientists like Stephen Hawking proved theoretically that they obey a precise, but still mysterious set of laws. This makes them paradoxically the simplest and most complex objects in the universe, though recent compelling progress on this paradox has been made. Observationally, they have finally and dramatically been seen in the sky, including at LIGO and the Event Horizon Telescope. Future prospects for progress on both fronts hinge on emergent symmetries occurring near black holes. An elementary presentation of aspects of these topics and their interplay will be given Andrew Strominger.

This event is an initiative by the Dutch Institute for Emergent Phenomena (DIEP) with the support of NWA route 2. Science & Cocktails Amsterdam is presented in cooperation with Paradiso. This episode is integrated in the Amsterdam String Theory Workshop 2022 and the Verlinde^2 fest.


  • 19:45–   20:15
  • 20:30–   21:00
    Hirosi Ooguri– 
  • 21:00–   21:30
    Andrew Strominger– 
  • 21:45–   23:00
    DJ Mulat– 

Talk by

Hirosi Ooguri

Hirosi Ooguri is a theoretical physicist working on quantum field theory, quantum gravity, superstring theory, and their interfaces with mathematics. He is Fred Kavli Professor of Theoretical Physics and Mathematics and the Founding Director of the Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics at California Institute of Technology. He is also the director of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics at the University of Tokyo and is the chair of the board of trustees of the Aspen Center for Physics in Colorado. He has received multiple awards including the Leonard Einsenbud Prize for Mathematics and Physics, the Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics and the the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon from the Emperor of Japan. Ooguri's popular science books have sold over a quarter million copies in Japan, and one of them was awarded the Kodansha Prize for Science Books.

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Talk by

Andrew Strominger

Andrew Strominger is is a theoretical physicist who is the director of Harvard's Center for the Fundamental Laws of Nature. He has made significant contributions to quantum gravity and string theory. These include his work on Calabi–Yau compactification and topology change in string theory, and on the stringy origin of black hole entropy. He is a senior fellow at the Society of Fellows, and is the Gwill E. York Professor of Physics. In recognition of his accomplishments, Strominger has been awarded numerous prizes, fellowships, and honorary professorships. These include the Klein Medal from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the 2014 Dirac Medal from the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, which he received for his contributions to the origin, development, and further understanding of string theory. Furthermore, he received the Physics Frontiers Breakthrough Prize from the Milner Foundation.


Music by


"For us it speaks metaphorically about getting back into the moment held together by great times with great bands. A prescription we have been waiting to fill for far too long. Putting this song on is an astral projection to our better lives defined by music shared in offbeat places where feeling alive is walking through a barely lucid dream. Elephant are obviously dreamers." -Anon Magazine on the song ‘Medicine’ Sunny, melancholy and in a major key. That is the sound of the 4-piece indie band 'Elephant.'

The band was born in the year in which a virus almost knocked out the music industry. Against their better judgement but with full dedication, they threw themselves at songwriting. They retreat to their greenhouse studio amidst fields of bok choy and Chinese cabbage, on the outskirts of Rotterdam. Elephant convinces with its distinctive approach, sound and songs and is signed by legendary Dutch record label Excelsior Recordings. In early 2022, they made a big impression with their show onEurope's main showcase festival Eurosonic Noorderslag. Later that year they released their debut album ‘Big Thing’, produced by Pablo van de Poel (DeWolff). The album was highly praised in theDutch press: "A wonderful record" (De Volkskrant ****), "Spectacular in its simplicity" (OOR),"Everything is just right on this record" (3voor12), “Calm, warm, hopeful and easy-going” (NRC****).Elephant is marked as the new Dutch indie pop band that just might make a difference in the coming years

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Live act by

DJ Mulat

DJ Mulat plays music from all around the globe, expect afrobeat, latin, cumbia, etc.

DIE Plogo Open