University of Edinburgh

Neil Turok

Emerging Talents (Falling Walls Lab)

Jury: Emerging Talents

Neil Turok is the inaugural Higgs Chair of Theoretical Physics at the University of Edinburgh. He is also Director Emeritus and Niels Bohr Chair at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada. Previously he was Professor of Physics at Princeton and Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge. Turok is a leader in developing and testing theories of the universe. His team’s predictions for the correlations between the temperature and polarization the cosmic background radiation and for the correlations between the galaxy distribution and the background temperature have been confirmed at high precision. He pioneered investigations of many theoretical proposals, including cosmic strings, “single-bubble” inflationary universes – the basis of the multiverse paradigm – and cyclic universe scenarios. Most recently, he and his collaborators have developed a new approach – the CPT-symmetric universe – providing the simplest-yet explanation for the cosmic dark matter. Born in South Africa, Turok founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), now Africa’s leading institution for postgraduate training and research with over 2300 Master’s alumni, from 45 African countries, of whom 500 have proceeded to PhDs. Over 30% are women. AIMS has centres in Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa. Over the coming decade, AIMS plan is to build a community of 10,000 outstanding young scientists and technologists, working to build a bright future for the continent. In 2016 Turok was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the UK Institute of Physics and the John Torrence Tate Medal of the American Institute of Physics for International Leadership in Physics. In 2018 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.