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The Universe Within

Written by Neil Turok

Series Title: CBC Massey Lectures

  • 312 Pages
  • 9781770890152
  • 8" x 5"
  • SCIENCE / History
  • SCIENCE / Physics
  • SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects



Publication Date September 29, 2012

“With [The Universe Within’s] deeply thoughtful reflections on the place of science in society, on the need to educate the underserved, and on plenty of other topics rarely addressed in this sort of book, Turok takes you where no physicist has gone before. It’s well worth making the journey with him.” — TIME Magazine

Winner of the Lane Anderson Award, longlisted for the Charles Taylor Prize, shortlisted for the Libris Award for Non-Fiction and selected as an Best Book

The most anticipated nonfiction book of the season, this year's Massey Lectures is a visionary look at the way the human mind can shape the future by world-renowned physicist Neil Turok.

Every technology we rely on today was created by the human mind, seeking to understand the universe around us. Scientific knowledge is our most precious possession, and our future will be shaped by the breakthroughs to come.

In this personal, visionary, and fascinating work, Neil Turok, Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, explores the transformative scientific discoveries of the past three centuries -- from classical mechanics, to the nature of light, to the bizarre world of the quantum, and the evolution of the cosmos. Each new discovery has, over time, yielded new technologies causing paradigm shifts in the organization of society. Now, he argues, we are on the cusp of another major transformation: the coming quantum revolution that will supplant our current, dissatisfying digital age. Facing this brave new world, Turok calls for creatively re-inventing the way advanced knowledge is developed and shared, and opening access to the vast, untapped pools of intellectual talent in the developing world. Scientific research, training, and outreach are vital to our future economy, as well as powerful forces for peaceful global progress.

Elegantly written, deeply provocative, and highly inspirational, The Universe Within is, above all, about the future -- of science, of society, of ourselves.

Winner of the Lane Anderson Award 2012

Selected for the Best Books: Editors' Picks 2012

Selected for the Best Books: Top 10 Nonfiction 2012

Long-listed for the Charles Taylor Prize 2013

Short-listed for the Libris Award 2013


Neil Turok

Neil Turok is one of the world's top physicists and founder of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), a centre for education and research based in Cape Town, South Africa. Currently the Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, he was formerly the Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University and Professor of Physics at Princeton. With Stephen Hawking he developed the Hawking-Turok instanton solutions, which describe the birth of inflationary universes. He is the co-author, with Paul J. Steinhardt, of the critically acclaimed book Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang — Rewriting Cosmic History. He was awarded the 1992 James Clerk Maxwell medal of the U.K. Institute of Physics, and was recently honoured with a prestigious TED Prize and a "Most Innovative People" award at the 2008 World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (WSIE). Born in South Africa, Turok now lives in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


"The Universe Within takes the reader on a wondrous journey across space and time. Through an artful melding of science and personal narrative, Neil Turok -- one of the world's leading theoretical physicists -- conveys not only the excitement of forefront research, but the gripping human drama of exploring ourselves and the cosmos." Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe

"Neil Turok’s The Universe Within provides an elegant, informative, and sometimes moving account, free of technicalities, of those powerful scientific, philosophical, and humanitarian influences underlying the personal drives of this highly distinguished mathematical physicist. I strongly recommend it." Sir Roger Penrose, author of Cycles of Time

"The Universe Within is that rare thing, a genuinely exciting and exhilarating book. It is a mixture of polemic, celebrating science and reason with the eloquence and power of Sagan and Bronowski, and a beautifully written exploration of some of the great fundamental questions at the frontier of scientific knowledge. If you want to experience the excitement of modern science and understand why scientists devote their professional lives to the exploration of the unknown, then read this book." Brian Cox, author of The Quantum Universe

"Turok does an excellent job making accessible some of the most difficult concepts in physics, writing about science with a clarity that rivals Brian Greene and James Gleick ... by turns entertaining and instructive, The Universe Within above all offers hope." Quill and Quire

"Turok’s excitement, expertise and passion for his field of physics are evident; his ability to communicate complex concepts is exceptional." Kitchener Waterloo Record

"An excellent book for anyone who wants a general, accesible overview of our best understanding of the universe." Globe and Mail

"The Universe Within is concise, accessible and inspiring." Winnipeg Free Press

"An excellent historical overview of mathematics and physics." University Affairs

"With [The Universe Within's] deeply thoughtful reflections on the place of science in society, on the need to educate the underserved, and on plenty of other topics rarely addressed in this sort of book, Turok takes you where no physicist has gone before. It’s well worth making the journey with him." TIME Magazine

"Turok is one of the most original living scientists. This book is an ode to science and the importance it holds today more than ever... It is an excellent and inspiring read." Physics Today