Marina Cortês


Marina Cortês

Astrophysicist, Mountaineer, Ballerina



Award-winning cosmologist researching into the fundamental nature of time, aiming to overturn the prejudice of time-reversibility in physical laws. High-altitude Himalayan mountaineer and former professional ballet dancer, seeking the art in science and the science in art.

Do not let yourself be narrowly defined by what you presently do. Aim to transcend simple categorisations that might fit into a short biography. Combining the spirits of Arts, Science and physical adventure, she’s a professional classical ballet dancer, an award-winning cosmologist, and a high-altitude mountaineer. Contemporary dance brings the aesthetic of expression to all that she does. In cosmology she challenges fundamental conceptions of the nature of time. In the mountains, she tackles the world’s 8000m peaks (all in the Himalayas) with the goal of ascending Everest.

Ballerina mountaineer studies the arrow of time, and the second law of thermodynamics
Ballerina mountaineer studies the arrow of time, and the second law of thermodynamics. Image Credit: Priyal Bordia
"Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything. Maybe it's about unbecoming everything that isn't really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place." Montage: Priyal Bordia


Although I now move between science and adventuring, ballet was my life from very early on. I’d train 5-6 hours/day at the Arts Conservatory (Lisbon) and at 19 moved to Amsterdam to be a professional ballet dancer. At 25 I was halted by injury and was able to focus on astrophysics!


Dance is still a part of everything I accomplish. A strict ballet training earns you the discipline and experience to sustain distress and pain and injuries in harsh, demanding environments in Himalayan altitudes.


Many years on, I see that my dance training also gave me the ease to move with confidence in any kind of context, in academic, industrial or political interactions and meetings.

International Day Women in Science - 2023

My husband Andrew made a short video about me in celebration of international for Women in Science, 2023. Click the image below!

Galaxies on the Beach - 2023

When in doubt, stage an artistic intervention!!

Galaxies on the beach
"Galaxies on the Beach" event, Carcavelos May 20th 2023

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