the California Institute of Technology (1971) and his Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University (1978). He came to the University of Chicago in 1978 as an Enrico Fermi Fellow and joined the faculty in 1980. From 2003 to 2006, Turner served as the assistant director of the National Science Foundation for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and from 2006 to 2008 as chief scientist at Argonne National Laboratory.
From 1997 to 2003 Turner was chair of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at Chicago, and from 1998 to 2001 he was the first scientific spokesperson for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. He was instrumental in establishing the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago in 2001. In 1983, with Edward Kolb, he established the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at Fermilab, which today is part of the larger Center for Particle Astrophysics at Fermilab. Turner is currently a member of the board of directors and the executive committee of the Fermi Research Alliance, which manages Fermilab for the Department of Energy. Since 1984 he has been on the board of trustees of the Aspen Center for Physics and from 1989 to 1993 served as its president.
Turner is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Turner has been honored with the Helen B. Warner Prize of the American Astronomical Society, the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society, the Halley Lectureship at Oxford University, the Klopsteg Lecture Award of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago and an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Michigan State University. In 2006, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Caltech, and in 2009 he will give the Biermann Lectures at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching.
Turner helped to pioneer the interdisciplinary field that has brought together cosmologists and elementary particle physicists to unravel the origin and evolution of the universe and to understand the unification of the fundamental forces and particles of nature. His research focuses on the earliest moments of creation, and he has made seminal contributions to inflationary cosmology, particle dark matter and structure formation, the theory of big-bang nucleosynthesis, and the nature of dark energy that is causing the expansion of the universe to speed up. He believes that cosmic acceleration is the most profound mystery in all of science today, and he coined the term “dark energy.” Dark energy is the focus of his current research.
Turner has served on and chaired numerous committees for the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, the American Physical Society, and the National Academies. The National Academy study Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos, which he led, identified opportunities at the intersection of astronomy and physics and