Max Erik Tegmark (born Max Shapiro 5 May 1967) is a Swedish-American physicist and 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, a supporter of the effective altruism movement, and has received donations from Elon Musk to investigate existential risk from advanced artificial intelligence.
May 5, 1967 |
|Alma mater||Royal Institute of Technology
Tegmark left Sweden in 1990 after receiving his B.Sc. in Physics from the Royal Institute of Technology (he’d earned a B.A. in Economics the previous year at the Stockholm School of Economics). His first academic venture beyond Scandinavia brought him to California, where he studied physics at the University of California, Berkeley, earning his M.A. in 1992, and Ph.D. in 1994.
After having worked at the University of Pennsylvania, he is now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While in high school, Tegmark and a friend created and sold a word processor written in pure machine code for the Swedish eight-bit computer ABC 80, and a 3D Tetris-like game.
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. 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. 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". 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, 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".
Tegmark is interviewed in the 2018 documentary on artificial intelligence Do You Trust This Computer?
He was married to astrophysicist Angelica de Oliveira-Costa in 1997, and divorced in 2009. They have two sons. On August 5, 2012, Tegmark married Meia Chita, a Boston University Ph.D. candidate.
In the mediaEdit
- 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."
- 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?", "What is Reality?" and "Which Universe Are We In?", all part of the BBC's Horizon scientific series of programmes.
- 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.
- 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.
- In 2014, featured in "The Principle", a documentary examining the Copernican Principle.
- In 2015, Tegmark participated in an episode of Sam Harris' the Waking Up podcast entitled "The Multiverse & You (& You & You & You...)" where they discussed topics such as artificial intelligence and Mathematical universe hypothesis.
- In 2017, Tegmark gave a talk entitled "Effective altruism, existential risk & existential hope" at the world's largest annual conference of the effective altruism movement.
- In 2017, Tegmark participated in an episode of Sam Harris' the Waking Up podcast entitled "The Future of Intelligence" where they discussed topics such as artificial intelligence and definitions of life.
- Max Tegmark Faculty page, MIT Physics Department
- "buzzword free zone - home of magnus bodin". X42.com. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
- Sveriges befolkning 1980, CD-ROM, Version 1.02, Sveriges Släktforskarförbund (2004).
- The Future of Computers is the Mind of a Toddler, Bloomberg
- "Elon Musk:Future of Life Institute Artificial Intelligence Research Could be Crucial". Bostinno. 2015. Retrieved 21 Jun 2015.
- "Elon Musk Donates $10M To Make Sure AI Doesn't Go The Way Of Skynet". TechCrunch. 2015. Retrieved 21 Jun 2015.
- Effective Altruism Global (2017-06-17), Max Tegmark: Effective altruism, existential risk & existential hope, retrieved 2018-05-19
- "MIT Department of Physics". web.mit.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
- Tegmark, Max. The Mathematical Universe. p. 55.
- "INSPIRE-HEP: M Tegmark's profile". Inspire-Hep.
- "Tegmark - Philosophy of Cosmology". philosophy-of-cosmology.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
- Eisenstein, Daniel J.; Hu, Wayne; Tegmark, Max. "Cosmic Complementarity: and from Combining Cosmic Microwave Background Experiments and Redshift Surveys". The Astrophysical Journal. 504 (2): L57–L60. arXiv: . Bibcode:1998ApJ...504L..57E. doi:10.1086/311582.
- Tegmark, Max; de Oliveira-Costa, Angélica; Hamilton, Andrew (1 December 2003). "High resolution foreground cleaned CMB map from WMAP". Physical Review D. 68 (12). arXiv: . Bibcode:2003PhRvD..68l3523T. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.68.123523.
- Tegmark, Max. "The Mathematical Universe". Foundations of Physics. 38 (2): 101–150. arXiv: . Bibcode:2008FoPh...38..101T. doi:10.1007/s10701-007-9186-9. a short version of which is available at Shut up and calculate. (in reference to David Mermin's famous quote "shut up and calculate" "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-05-15. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
- APS Archive (1990-present)
- "Max Tegmark Homepage". Space.mit.edu. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
- "Welcome to Meia and Max's wedding". Space.mit.edu. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
- "Meia Chita-Tegmark". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-01-10.
- "Max Tegmark forecasts the future". New Scientist. 18 November 2006. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
- The Forum episode guide. BBC Radio 4. Accessed 2014-04-28.
- The Perpetual Earth Program Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine.
- "The Multiverse & You (& You & You & You...)". Sam Harris. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- "The Future of Intelligence)". Sam Harris. 27 August 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-27.