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Michael Turner's research focuses on the application of modern ideas in elementary particle theory to cosmology and astrophysics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a leading proponent of the theory of the origin of the universe known as the "Cold Dark Matter Theory." Turner chaired the National Research Council's Committee on the Physics of the Universe, which in 2003 published Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos. The report assessed the scientific opportunities that occur on the frontiers of research at the intersection of physics and astronomy. Turner completed a two-year term as assistant director for mathematical and physical sciences at the National Science Foundation in 2006.