Our Founder

Our Founder's Story

It begins with Neil Turok, whose vision for African education and development goes back to his early life as a volunteer school teacher in Lesotho, Africa. Turok was born in South Africa, but his family was exiled during the apartheid regime because of their vocal opposition. As a refugee, he grew up in Kenya and then Tanzania, and received his high school and university education in London, England.

He tells a story of a young boy who taught him a vital lesson while a school teacher in Lesotho. One day, the exuberant and creative teacher brought his class outside to estimate the height of their building. While many were guessing, he noticed one small boy was marking the pavement with chalk. “What are you doing?” Turok asked. The boy replied that he had measured the height of one brick, counted 26 of them up the side and was multiplying the numbers to estimate the total height.

It was experiences like this one and others with bright and creative African students that have stayed with the world renowned physicist. Turok is famous for his work with Stephen Hawking on the Hawking-Turok Instanton Theory about the origins of the universe.

Fast forward to the new millennium, and with a half century of development aid, Africa still is not performing to its potential. With the revolutionary democratic changes he witnessed for a free South Africa, Turok saw an opportunity to do it differently. The incredible opportunities that were being unlocked in his birthplace motivated him to pursue his vision of an Africa where Africans solved their own problems and AIMS was born.

Turok is currently the Director of the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics in Canada. The Institute was created by the founders of BlackBerry smart phones and Perimeter is an integral supporter of AIMS-NEI.


"My goal is to get people thinking and trying to wrap their heads around the amazing things that have been achieved and to dream about what will be achieved ."

Mandela-Hawking-and-Turok-c-590×332 Neil Turok with Nelson Mandela and Prof. Stephen Hawking
PM-of-Canada-at-PI-with-SH-590×332 Professor Stephen Hawking addresses students
South-Africa-class-with-Nei-590×332 With students in South Africa
unspecified-7-590×332 AIMS leadership