What Banged? Top Scientist Neil Turok at Canada's Perimeter Institute to Share Insight on Deepest Mysteries of the Cosmos

    WATERLOO, ON, Feb. 27 /CNW/ - The evidence that the universe emerged
14 billion years ago from an event called 'the Big Bang' is overwhelming. Yet
the cause of this event remains deeply mysterious. In the conventional
picture, the 'initial singularity' is unexplained. It is simply assumed that
the universe somehow sprang into existence full of 'inflationary' energy,
blowing up the universe into the large, smooth state we observe today. While
this picture is in excellent agreement with current observations, it is both
contrived and incomplete, leading us to suspect that it is not the final word.
    On Wednesday, March 5th, at 7:00 pm, Perimeter Institute will examine
this deep mystery in science with preeminent physicist Dr. Neil Turok,
Cambridge University, in a sold-out public lecture. Dr. Turok will provide
many insights, including those outlined in his recent book co-authored with
Dr. Paul Steinhardt - 'Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang' - in which there
is a view that the Big Bang was not the beginning of time but the bridge to a
past filled with endlessly repeating cycles of evolution, each accompanied by
the creation of new matter and the formation of new galaxies, stars and
    In this presentation for a general audience, the standard inflationary
picture will be contrasted with a new view of the initial singularity
suggested by string and M-theory, in which the bang is a far more normal,
albeit violent, event which occurred in a pre-existing universe. According to
the new picture, a cyclical model of the universe becomes feasible in which
one bang is followed by another, in a potentially endless series of cosmic
cycles. The presentation will also review exciting recent theoretical
developments and forthcoming observational tests which could distinguish
between the rival inflationary and cyclical hypotheses.

    About Neil Turok:

    Dr. Turok currently holds the Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge
University, prior to which he was Professor of Physics at Princeton
University. In 1992 he was awarded the James Clerk Maxwell medal of the UK
Institute of Physics.
    Turok has worked in a number of areas of mathematical and early-universe
theory, focusing on observational tests of fundamental physics in cosmology.
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 could naturally incorporate a mechanism for relaxing the cosmological
constant to very small values, consistent with current observations.
Steinhardt and Turok cowrote the recent popular science book "Endless
    In 2003, Turok, who was born in South Africa, founded the African
Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Cape Town, a postgraduate
educational center supporting the development of mathematics and science
across the African continent. In 2007, he was appointed Director of the Centre
for Theoretical Cosmology (CTC) in Cambridge.
    Turok has been recently awarded a TED prize for his contributions to
theoretical cosmology, and for his work in Africa.

    To inquire about seats for journalists or to coordinate an interview with
our speaker, contact Renée Ellis at rellis@perimeterinstitute.ca or
519.569.7600 ext. 5051.


    Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) is an
independent, non-profit research centre where international scientists are
clustering to push the limits of our understanding of physical laws by
contemplating and calculating new ideas about the very essence of space, time,
matter and information. The Institute, located in Waterloo, Ontario, also
provides a wide array of educational outreach activities for students,
teachers and the general public across Canada and beyond in order to share the
joys of research, discovery and innovation. For more information, please visit

For further information:

For further information: Renée Ellis, Marketing and Communications
Specialist, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, (519) 569-7600 ext.
7101, perimeterinstitute.ca

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