Robbert Dijkgraaf: ‘Make use of all scientific knowledge’

Presenter and theoretical physicist Robbert Dijkgraaf advises government agencies to involve as many scientific fields as possible in their decision-making. ‘RIVM is doing well and they have a very difficult position. But we see that, in addition to biomedical insights, other sciences are also very important. ‘

Robbert Dijkgraaf is a university professor at the University of Amsterdam. He is also director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. His specialization is theoretical physics, which he also talks about regularly on television. A guest at Ask Me Anything he emphasizes the importance of joint scientific advice in the corona crisis.

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‘Biomedical knowledge is extremely important and it is also growing at lightning speed.’ ‘But we have also seen that we influence people’s behavior, you can also study that.’ Dijkgraaf compares the corona crisis here with the climate crisis. ‘At the beginning, we also thought that only meteorologists should look at this, but then we realized that we also had to look at the economic impact and the consequences for nature.’


The physicist also finds it important that science as a whole comes out with advice. ‘I am sometimes a bit concerned that the average Dutch person will be dizzy by all the voices there are, which can undermine confidence in those advice.’ He therefore prefers to see all of science put their heads together and come up with joint advice.

British example

According to Dijkgraaf, in order to achieve this joint advice, we need to look at a different method. He cites the British Royal Society as an example. ‘They have created different teams in each scientific field that provide input to the British RIVM.’

Listen to the entire conversation at Ask Me Anything below:

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