Neil Turok

Neil Turok, physicist, innovator, and mathematician, has spent his life searching for the greatest unknowns in the universe and more recently, the individuals that may be able to find them.

Turok has spent the majority of his professional career as a theoretical physicist attempting to find a more accurate model of the big bang while also enabling the great minds of Africa to bring greater advancement to the continent. He began his endeavor as a young boy fleeing with his family from his country of birth, South Africa, as a refugee from the oppressive apartheid regime after his parents were placed in prison for being anti-apartheid advocates. His family promptly moved to Tanzania where he resumed his high school education. Following high school, Turok moved to England where he graduated from Churchill College, Cambridge. Shortly thereafter, he received his doctorate from Imperial College, London for his efforts in solitons in gauge theories [1].

Following his Education, Turok began his extensive professional career as a researcher and professor at institutions ranging from Fermilab to Princeton. Throughout these various positions, he began to develop a cosmological model of the universe that better fit with the known data regarding background microwave radiation and density parameters. The main issue with the “pea model” for the big bang is that there are areas of the model that simply cannot be explained using the known laws of physics. Instead, Turok in collaboration with Hawking developed a model in which two previous multidimensional worlds collided to form a instanton event, thus resulting in the formation of our universe. To keep it simple, their model is basically an attempt at developing an explanation that is more true to what we know. This model may or may not be the correct explanation, but such a development represents growth within the scientific community. As it currently sits, Turok continues to make greater developments in the subject at The Perimeter Institute in Ontario, Canada.

In addition to his various efforts in the area of theoretical physics, Turok has laid the foundation for creating a system by which the great minds of Africa can be supported. In association with many other universities, Turok founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences or in other words, AIMS. AIMS is a postgraduate, pan-African network of establishments that was designed to provide education, research, and outreach in mathematical sciences for the young minds of Africa [2]. His effective goal in creating such a system was to bring the next Einstein out of Africa while simultaneously enabling Africa’s talented students to become innovators who drive the continent’s scientific, educational, and economic self-sufficiency [2]. AIMS currently has 6 locations in different countries throughout Africa and students from nearly every country within the continent have graduated through one of their establishments.

AIMS-Students-south africa
Royal Statistical Society


Ultimately, the work that Turok has begun in his efforts in theoretical physics and the furtherance of African education will accomplish immeasurably more than one can imagine. Such advancements are truly the means by which progress is made.

I encourage you to watch Neil Turok’s Ted talk discussing the points listed in this blog:



Works Cited

[1] “Neil Turok.” Neil Turok | Perimeter Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

[2] “About AIMS.” About AIMS | AIMS South Africa. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

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