NEIL TUROK was professor of physics at Princeton University and chair of Mathematical Physics at the University of Cambridge before assuming his current position as director and Niels Bohr Chair at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, the world’s largest centre for foundational theoretical physics research.
Turok's research focuses on developing fundamental theories of cosmology and new observational tests. His predictions for the correlations of the polarization and temperature of the cosmic background radiation (CBR) and of the galaxy-CBR correlations induced by dark energy have been recently confirmed. His work on open inflation helped found the development of the inflationary multiverse paradigm. With Stephen Hawking he discovered instanton solutions describing the birth of inflationary universes. With Paul Steinhardt, he developed an alternative, cyclic model for cosmology, whose predictions are so far in agreement with all observational tests.
Turok was awarded the James Clerk Maxwell medal of the Institute of Physics (UK). He is a Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Fellow in Cosmology and Gravity and a Senior Fellow of Massey College in the University of Toronto. In 2012, Turok delivered CBC Massey Lectures, broadcast across Canada and published as The Universe Within, a bestseller which won Canada's top prize for popular science writing, the Lane Anderson award.
Born in South Africa, in 2003 Turok founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Cape Town. AIMS has since expanded to a network of five centres—in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon and Tanzania- and will shortly open centres in Rwanda and Morocco. AIMS is now Africa’s leading institution for postgraduate training and research in the mathematical sciences. For his scientific discoveries and his work developing AIMS, Turok was awarded a TED Prize in 2008. He has also been recognized with awards from the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (WSIE) and the World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE).