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Neil Turok


  • Associate Fellow
  • Gravity & the Extreme Universe




Neil Turok is director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

He has worked in a number of areas of theoretical physics and cosmology, focusing on developing fundamental theories and new observational tests. In the 1990s, his group calculated how the polarization and temperature anisotropies of the cosmic background radiation would be correlated – a prediction confirmed in detail by recent measurements. The team also developed a key test for the presence of the cosmological constant – also recently confirmed. With Stephen Hawking, he developed the Hawking-Turok instanton solutions, describing the birth of inflationary universes. Most recently, with Paul Steinhardt, he has developed a cyclic model for cosmology, according to which the big bang is explained as a collision between two “brane-worlds.” Turok is also the founder of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, based in Cape Town, which supports the development of mathematics and science across the African continent.


  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, 2014
  • TED Prize, 2008
  • James Clerk Maxwell Medal, 1992
  • Packard Fellowship, 1991

Relevant Publications

  • Bars, I. et al. "Dynamical String Tension in String Theory with Spacetime Weyl Invariance." Fortschritte der Physik 62, no. 11–12 (2014).
  • Smith, K. et al. "Quantifying the BICEP2-Planck Tension over Gravitational Waves." Physical Review Letters 113 (2014).
  • Turok, N. "On quantum tunneling in real time." New Journal of Physics 16 (2014).
  • Bars, I., P. Steinhardt, and N. Turok. "Sailing through the big crunch-big bang transition." Phys. Rev. D 89 (2014).
  • Turok, N. The Universe Within. Toronto: Anansi, 2012.
  • Steinhardt, P., and N. Turok. Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang. New York: Broadway Books, 2008.

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