Professor Neil Turok, Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University, has been named one of the three TED prize winners for 2008.
Other 2008 prize winners were Dave Eggers (author) and Karen Armstrong (authority on comparative religions). Previous prizewinners have included Bill Clinton, E.O. Wilson and Bono.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and started in 1984 as a conference bringing together these disciplines. Since then its scope has broadened and its activities centre on the annual conference in Monterey, California.
Every year, TED names three new recipients for the TED Prize. Each TED prize winner chooses a project which they announce at the annual conference - the next conference will be held between February 27 and March 1 2008 in Monterey, California.
Professor Turok was awarded the James Clerk Maxwell medal of the Institute of Physics for his contributions to theoretical physics in 1992 and has worked in a number of areas of mathematical and early-universe physics. He developed the theory of open inflation and with Stephen Hawking developed the Hawking-Turok
instanton solutions, describing the birth of an inflationary universe. Most recently, with Paul Steinhardt at Princeton, he has developed a cyclic model for the universe, in which the big bang is explained as a collision between two "brane-worlds" in M-theory. Steinhardt and Turok cowrote the popular science book Endless Universe. In 2003, Turok founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Muizenberg, a postgraduate educational center supporting the development of
mathematics and science across the African continent.
You can read more about Professor Turok's work in the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge University in this Plus article Building Newton's nest.
We await what Professor Turok will wish for in his acceptance speech. In 2005 Bono called for action in Africa, in 2007 Bill Clinton talked about building a health care system in Rwanda and also in 2007 E.O. Wilson shared his vision for the Encyclopedia of Life.