Michael S. Turner is a theoretical cosmologist, who coined the term dark energy in 1998. He is the Bruce V. & Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, and was formerly the Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences for the US National Science Foundation from 2003–2006. His book The Early Universe, co-written with fellow Chicago cosmologist Rocky Kolb and published in 1990, is a standard text on the subject.
Turner received a B.S. in Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1971, and earned a PhD in Physics from Stanford University in 1978.
Turner helped establish the interdisciplinary field that combines together cosmology and elementary particle physics to understand the origin and evolution of the Universe. His research focuses on the earliest moments of creation, and he has made contributions to inflationary cosmology, particle dark matter and structure formation, the theory of big bang nucleosynthesis, and the nature of dark energy.
The National Academy study, Connecting quarks with the cosmos: eleven science questions for the new century, which he chaired, identified opportunities at the intersection of Astronomy and Physics and has help shape science investment in the US in this area.Helen B. Warner Prize of the American Astronomical Society (1984)
Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society (1997)
Klopsteg Memorial Award (1999)
Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics of the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics (2010)
Member, American Philosophical Society (2017)