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Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President

2004-2005 Provost Lecture Series

Cosmic Facts, Surprises and Mysteries:
What We Know and Don't Know About the Birth and Destiny of the Universe

Thursday, March 10, 2005
2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Banquet Room
K-State Alumni Center

Dr. Michael S. Turner
Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of Chicago

Inaugural speaker for the spring 2005 Distinguished Speakers Series of
Kansas State University's Center for the Understanding of Origins
and part of the Provost's Lecture Series.

Biographical Sketch:
Michael S. Turner is the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. He also holds appointments in the Department of Physics and Enrico Fermi Institute at Chicago. For more than 20 years he was member of the scientific staff at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Turner received his B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (1971) and his Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University (1978). His association with the University of Chicago began in 1978 as an Enrico Fermi Fellow and in 1980, he joined the faculty. Turner is a Fellow of the APS and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as 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 and the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at Chicago. Turner has served on or chaired many advisory committees for the NRC, DoE, NSF and NASA. Since 1984, he has been involved in the governance of the Aspen Center for Physics, serving as president from 1989 to 1993. He served on the board of trustees of the Illinois Math and Science Academy from 1998-2003. Turner's transparencies were featured in a one-man show at the CfPA Gallery.

Turner is a cosmologist whose research focuses on the earliest moments of the Universe. He has made important contributions to inflationary Universe theory, understanding of dark matter and the origin of structure. Turner and Edward Kolb helped to establish the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at Fermilab and wrote the monograph "The Early Universe." Eleven of Turner's former students and postdocs hold faculty positions at universities in Canada and the United States.

Turner has recently been appointed Assistant Director for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation.

Turner will touch on the "big bang model" of the evolution of the universe in his lecture, including the recent discovery that "dark energy" -- a name he coined --
is responsible for the accelerating expansion of the universe.