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Max Tegmark

Max Tegmark
Born (1967-05-05) May 5, 1967
Nationality Swedish-American
Fields Cosmology Physics
Institutions MIT
Alma mater Royal Institute of Technology

Max Erik Tegmark[1] (born 5 May 1967) is a Swedish-American cosmologist. Tegmark is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the scientific director of the Foundational Questions Institute. He is also a co-founder of the Future of Life Institute, and has accepted donations from Elon Musk to investigate existential risk from advanced artificial intelligence.[2][3][4]


  • Biography 1
    • Early life 1.1
    • Career 1.2
    • Personal life 1.3
  • In the media 2
  • Books 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Early life

Tegmark was born in Sweden, the son of Karin Tegmark and American-born professor emeritus of mathematics Harold S. Shapiro. He graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and later received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. After having worked at the University of Pennsylvania, he is now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While still in high-school, Max wrote, and sold commercially, together with school buddy Magnus Bodin, a word processor written in pure machine code [5] for the Swedish eight-bit computer ABC 80, and the 3D Tetris-like game Frac.[6]


His research has focused on cosmology, combining theoretical work with new measurements to place constraints on cosmological models and their free parameters, often in collaboration with experimentalists. He has over 200 publications, of which nine have been cited over 500 times.[7] He has developed data analysis tools based on information theory and applied them to Cosmic Microwave Background experiments such as COBE, QMAP, and WMAP, and to galaxy redshift surveys such as the Las Campanas Redshift Survey, the 2dF Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

With Daniel Eisenstein and Wayne Hu, he introduced the idea of using Baryon Acoustic Oscillations as a Standard Ruler.[8] With Angelica de Oliveira-Costa and Andrew Hamilton, he discovered the anomalous multipole alignment in the WMAP data sometimes referred to as the "axis of evil".[9] With Anthony Aguirre, he developed the Cosmological interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Tegmark has also formulated the "Ultimate ensemble theory of everything", whose only postulate is that "all structures that exist mathematically exist also physically". This simple theory, with no free parameters at all, suggests that in those structures complex enough to contain self-aware substructures (SASs), these SASs will subjectively perceive themselves as existing in a physically "real" world. This idea is formalized as the mathematical universe hypothesis,[10] described in his book Our Mathematical Universe.

Tegmark was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2012 for, according to the citation, "his contributions to cosmology, including precision measurements from cosmic microwave background and galaxy clustering data, tests of inflation and gravitation theories, and the development of a new technology for low-frequency radio interferometry".[11]

Personal life

He was married to astrophysicist Angelica de Oliveira-Costa in 1997, and divorced in 2009. They have two sons.[12] On August 5, 2012, Prof. Tegmark married Meia Chita.[13]

In the media

  • In 2006, Tegmark was one of fifty scientists interviewed by New Scientist about their predictions for the future. His prediction: "In 50 years, you may be able to buy T-shirts on which are printed equations describing the unified laws of our universes."[14]
  • Tegmark appears in the documentary Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives in which he is interviewed by Mark Oliver Everett, son of the founder of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, Hugh Everett.
  • Tegmark also appears in "Who's afraid of a big black hole?", "What time is it?", "To Infinity and Beyond", "Is Everything We Know About The Universe Wrong?" and "What is Reality?", all part of the BBC's Horizon scientific series of programmes along with "Which Universe Are We In?".
  • He appears in several episodes of Sci Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible, an American documentary television series on Science which first aired in the United States on December 1, 2009. The series is hosted by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.
  • Tegmark participated in the episode "Zooming Out" of BBC World Service's The Forum, which first aired on BBC Radio 4 on April 26, 2014.[15]
  • In 2014, Tegmark co-authored an op-ed in The Huffington Post with Stephen Hawking, Frank Wilczek and Stuart Russell on the movie Transcendence, "Transcending Complacency on Superintelligent Machines".
  • In 2014, "The Perpetual Earth Program," a play based on Tegmark's book Our Mathematical Universe, was mounted in New York City as part of the Planet Connections Theatre Festival.[16]
  • In 2014, featured in "The Principle", a documentary examining the Copernican Principle.[17]




  1. ^ Max Tegmark Faculty page, MIT Physics Department
  2. ^ The Future of Computers is the Mind of a Toddler, Bloomberg
  3. ^ "Elon Musk:Future of Life Institute Artificial Intelligence Research Could be Crucial". Bostinno. 2015. Retrieved 21 Jun 2015. 
  4. ^ "Elon Musk Donates $10M To Make Sure AI Doesn’t Go The Way Of Skynet". TechCrunch. 2015. Retrieved 21 Jun 2015. 
  5. ^ "buzzword free zone - home of magnus bodin". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  6. ^ Tegmark, Max. The Mathematical Universe. p. 55. 
  7. ^ "INSPIRE-HEP: M Tegmark's profile". Inspire-Hep. 
  8. ^ Eisenstein, Daniel J.; Hu, Wayne; Tegmark, Max. "Cosmic Complementarity: H_0 and \Omega_m from Combining Cosmic Microwave Background Experiments and Redshift Surveys". The Astrophysical Journal 504 (2): L57–L60.  
  9. ^ Tegmark, Max; de Oliveira-Costa, Angélica; Hamilton, Andrew (1 December 2003). "High resolution foreground cleaned CMB map from WMAP". Physical Review D 68 (12).  
  10. ^ Tegmark, Max. "The Mathematical Universe". Foundations of Physics 38 (2): 101–150.   a short version of which is available at Shut up and calculate. (in reference to David Mermin's famous quote "shut up and calculate" [2]
  11. ^ APS Archive (1990-present)
  12. ^ "Max Tegmark Homepage". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  13. ^ "Welcome to Meia and Max's wedding". Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  14. ^ "Max Tegmark forecasts the future". New Scientist. 18 November 2006. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  15. ^ episode guideThe Forum. BBC Radio 4. Accessed 2014-04-28.
  16. ^
  17. ^

External links

  • Official website
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