Max Tegmark

Max Tegmark
Max Tegmark

Born May 5, 1967 (1967-05-05) (age 44)
Nationality Swedish-American
Fields Cosmology
Institutions MIT
Alma mater Royal Institute of Technology

Max Tegmark (born 5 May 1967) is a Swedish-American cosmologist. Tegmark is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and belongs to the scientific directorate of the Foundational Questions Institute.



Early life

Tegmark was born as Max Shapiro in Sweden, son of Karin Tegmark and Harold S. Shapiro, studied at 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 8-bit computer ABC80.


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 9 have been cited over 500 times.[1] 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.[2]

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".[3]

He developed the quantum suicide thought experiment from earlier proposals by Hans Moravec and Bruno Marchal, and has come up with a mathematical argument for the multiverse.

He has also been a strong critic of those who would infer a theory of consciousness from quantum effects, such as Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff.

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" in his paper The mathematical universe, a short version of which was published as Shut up and calculate.

Personal life

He was married to astrophysicist Angelica de Oliveira-Costa (1997-2009). They have two sons, Philip and Alexander. [6].

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."[4]
  • 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.


External links

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