Michael S. Turner

Visiting Professor
Office: PAB 3-429

Michael S. Turner is a Visiting Professor at UCLA and the Rauner Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he was the Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics for a decade. He is a past-President of the American Physical Society and former Assistant Director for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences of the National Science Foundation. He also served as the Senior Strategic Advisor at the Kavli Foundation from 2019 to 2022 and Chief Scientist at Argonne National Lab from 2003 to 2006.

Born in Los Angeles, CA, Turner’s college career began when he took a year-long calculus course at UCLA as a high school senior. He received his B.S. from Caltech in 1971 and his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1978, both in physics. He is a theoretical astrophysicist whose scholarly contributions include predicting cosmic acceleration and coining the term dark energy, showing how quantum fluctuations evolved into the seed perturbations for galaxies during cosmic inflation, and several key ideas that led to the cold dark matter theory of structure formation.

Turner is a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1997 and in the American Philosophical Society in 2017.

His service to the National Academy of Sciences includes membership on three astronomy decadal surveys, leading the influential Quarks to the Cosmos study and currently co-chairing Elementary-particle Physics: Progress and Promise.