[And no, I don't know who it is.]
Update Friday 7:45 am: Click here to view the webcast.
Update Friday 9:45 am: PI's new director is (drums please!) Neil Turok!!
Update Saturday 3:30 am: Here is the official blahblah
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, May 9, 2008 - The Board of Directors of
Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Neil Turok to the position of Executive Director. The appointment, effective October 1st, comes with the unanimous endorsement of the Institute's Board following an extensive search and the unanimous recommendation of the Search Committee composed of Perimeter Institute researchers, members of its international Scientific Advisory Committee and members of the Institute's Board of Directors.
Mike Lazaridis, the founder of Perimeter Institute and Chairman of the Board, personally led the successful search and says, "We are extremely pleased to welcome Professor Turok to Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is a world-renowned scientist of the highest calibre and provides tremendous research and leadership experience. He is ideally suited to build upon Perimeter Institute's considerable international achievements to date in scientific research and educational outreach as we move forward in our next, ambitious phase of development."
Commenting on his appointment, Dr. Turok says, "I am thrilled and honored to serve as the next Executive Director of Perimeter Institute, or PI. The Institute's innovative approach, its flexibility and its determination to tackle the most basic questions are already attracting the world's most brilliant students and researchers to Canada. Working with the excellent PI team, I hope to strengthen these developments so that PI becomes a world epicenter for theoretical physics, catalysing major scientific breakthroughs."
Professor Stephen Hawking, the internationally acclaimed scientist at the University of Cambridge and a close colleague of Dr. Turok, says, "Neil Turok will make an excellent Director of the Perimeter Institute which has established itself as a world leading center of research in theoretical physics. He has been a colleague of mine for a number of years and I have been very impressed by his insight and originality. The combination of Neil and PI is brilliant and holds great promise for the future."
About Dr. Neil Turok
Dr. Neil Turok currently holds the Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University, where he is also the Director of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. He earned his PhD at Imperial College and, in 1994, became a Professor of Physics at Princeton University. Among his many honours, he was awarded the 1992 James Clerk Maxwell medal of the U.K. Institute of Physics.
Dr. Turok has worked in a number of areas of theoretical physics and cosmology, focusing on observational tests of fundamental physics. In the early 1990s, his group showed how the polarization and temperature anisotropies of the cosmic background radiation would be correlated, a prediction which has been confirmed in detail by recent precision measurements. The team also developed a key test for the presence of the cosmological constant, also recently confirmed.
With Stephen Hawking, he later developed the Hawking-Turok instanton solutions describing the birth of inflationary universes.
Most recently, with Paul Steinhardt at Princeton, he has been developing a cyclic model for cosmology, according to which the big bang is explained as a collision between two "brane-worlds" in M-theory. In 2006, Steinhardt and Turok showed how the model naturally allowed the cosmological constant to relax to very small values, consistent with current observations. Steinhardt and Turok co-authored the popular science book "Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang." A full online multimedia talk about this subject may be viewed online by clicking on Perimeter Institute Public Lectures and reviewing Dr. Turok's presentation "What Banged?".
Born in South Africa, Dr. Turok founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS, www.aims.ac.za). Based in Cape Town, this postgraduate educational centre supports the development of mathematics and science across the African continent. For this work and his many contributions to theoretical physics, Dr. Turok was recently awarded a prestigious TED
Prize (www.ted.com) and a "Most Innovative People" award at the 2008 World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (WSIE).
About Perimeter Institute
Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, non-profit, scientific research and educational outreach organization where international scientists cluster to push the limits of our understanding of physical laws and develop new ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter and information. The award-winning research centre provides a multi-disciplinary environment to foster research in areas of Cosmology, Particle Physics, Quantum Foundations, Quantum Gravity, Quantum Information, Superstring Theory, and related areas.
The Institute, located in Waterloo, Ontario, also provides a wide array of educational outreach activities for students, teachers and members of the general public in order to share the joy of scientific research, discovery and innovation.
In partnership with the Governments of Ontario and Canada, Perimeter Institute continues to be a successful example of private and public collaboration in science research and education. A full history is available at www.perimeterinstitute.ca.
Update Saturday 4:30 am: Globe and Mail: Cambridge scientist takes Canada to cutting edge of physics theory