Inaugural Higgs Chair appointed

A world-leading researcher in theoretical physics and fundamental cosmology has been appointed as the first Higgs Chair of Theoretical Physics.

Professor Neil Turok will join the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics in the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy in July 2020.


Professor Turok was the Director of Perimeter Institute in Canada, from 2008 to 2019. Under his leadership the institute grew into one of the strongest international centres for theoretical physics.  

Previously he was Professor of Physics at Princeton University and Chair of Mathematical Physics at the University of Cambridge.

Born in South Africa, Turok founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cape Town in 2003. The institute has since graduated more than 2000 students at Masters level and above.  

Key appointment

Professor Turok’s contributions to theoretical physics and cosmology have been hailed as influential and highly original. His work addresses some of the most profound problems in physics, he helped verify the existence of dark energy – a mysterious force thought to be pushing galaxies apart and causing the Universe to expand at an accelerating rate.

We are delighted to appoint Neil Turok, one of the world’s foremost theoretical physicists, to our inaugural Higgs Chair. The University of Edinburgh has a proud record in fundamental physics, including the fabulous work of the eponymous Peter Higgs. I am confident that Neil can build on that legacy and lead us to further success.

Professor Peter MathiesonPrincipal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh

The Higgs Centre

The Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics was established in 2012 following the discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN – the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. It is building on the legacy of Peter Higgs and Edinburgh’s outstanding tradition in the field.

The Centre is at the forefront of promoting research excellence in theoretical physics, aiming to answer fundamental questions about nature by developing new ideas and concepts.

Professor Turok will bring promising research to the Centre including a cutting-edge programme formulating quantum mechanical theories, in particular focussing on general relativity using real-time path integrals.

Professor Turok’s joining coincides with an expansion of the Higgs Centre and will involve new faculty and fellowship positions. Details will be announced later this year.

I am deeply honoured to be taking up the Higgs Chair. Theoretical physics is one of science’s most fruitful disciplines: when our ideas work, their impact can be extraordinary. The field stands at an exciting juncture.  A combination of observational advances and theoretical clues are guiding us towards a transformation in our understanding of the universe. The Higgs Centre’s excellent direction and the quality and scope of its programmes, within Edinburgh’s exhilarating setting and its outstanding scientific community, create opportunities to foster and develop brilliant new talent and to make major discoveries.

Professor Neil TurokHiggs Chair of Theoretical Physics

Related links

Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics 

School of Physics and Astronomy