(Originally published by Stanford University)
April 2, 2010
The University of Chicago has named Michael S. Turner as director of its Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, effective March 29, in an ongoing commitment to probing some of the most puzzling scientific questions about the origin and evolution of the universe.
Turner, the Bruce and Diana Rauner Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics at UChicago, succeeds John Carlstrom as director. Carlstrom, the S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, leaves the directorship to devote more time to his research with the South Pole Telescope and other projects.
“Over the six years of its young history, the Kavli Institute has seen great accomplishments, has been a powerful incubator for new ideas, and has served as a world center for cosmology,” said Robert Fefferman, dean of the Physical Sciences Division, in announcing Turner’s appointment. He further lauded Turner as “one of the world’s leading theoretical cosmologists,” and the Kavli Institute as “one of the division’s crown jewels.”
UChicago’s Kavli Institute is one of 15 research institutes worldwide that have the distinction of carrying the Kavli name, noted University President Robert Zimmer.
“Michael Turner is an eminent cosmologist, known for pioneering the deep connections between particle physics and cosmology and his seminal work on dark energy. He has had a distinguished career at the University and at the National Science Foundation. He is also an inaugural member of the Kavli Institute,” Zimmer said. “Michael will ably lead the next phase of cosmological discovery at the University, and advance Fred Kavli’s passionate convictions that basic scientific research is essential and beneficial for humanity.”
Turner is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has received numerous honors, including this year’s Dannie Heineman Prize for pioneering cosmological physics research from the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics. Turner has formerly served as the National Science Foundation’s assistant director for mathematical and physical sciences (2003–2006), and as chief scientist of Argonne National Laboratory (2006–2008).
The University established the Center for Cosmological Physics in 2001 with National Science Foundation support. The center was renamed the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics in 2004 in honor of Fred Kavli, who through the Kavli Foundation provided $7.5 million to endow the institute and support its programs.
UChicago’s Kavli Institute works closely with the other Kavli Institutes in astrophysics at Stanford University, Peking University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Cambridge.