Marina Cortês


Marina Cortês is an astrophysicist who challenges conventional notions as to the nature of time. She is particularly concerned with the issue of how the direction (arrow) of time, so obvious to us in our lives, can emerge from physical laws in which time can be reversed without consequence. Her research work has already won the inaugural Buchalter Cosmology Prize awarded in the USA.



Marina Cortês is currently founding a new scientific field, Biocosmology. It is the first bridge connecting cosmology and biology, scientific areas which were previously disconnected though lack of a common mathematical framework and tools, between the two up till now.

Biocosmology allows us to see life through the lens of black holes, dark energy, and dark matter. It is the first quantification, ever, of the value of our planet before the vastness of the cosmos.

First introduced in at the Google SciFoo meetings in May 2021

SciFOO talk

Biocosmology creates the extension of the multiple-award-winning research programme founded by her and Lee Smolin - see here - challenging the understanding of time in physics.

Now, together with:

  • World leading cosmologist Andrew Liddle, newly ranked top 0.06% of world’s most influential scientists by Stanford University: see here

  • McArthur Prize and Theoretical Biologist Stuart Kauffman

  • And the world renowned Theoretical Physicist and Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics founding member Lee Smolin, she is extending her previous program of ``Foundational Time Irreversibility’’ to approach quantum biology and the brain.

The press release with the initial three papers is here: Biocosmology!

Shape of history

She is also premiering in the Hollywood production The Shape of History


This trilogy of groundbreaking documentary programs will take us on a journey through cosmic history to explore our evolving understanding of our universe – and humankind’s place within it.

``Humans are of nature not above nature’'

Shape of History is a radical paradigm shift for the replacing of the human species to its natural place as only one of the many elements in the fantastic circle of life.


Stuart Kauffman
MacArthur Prize, Author, Royal Society of Canada Fellow

George Colburn
Executive Producer

Chris Shaws
Filmmaker, Producer

Dean Love

Paul Marcus

Talks at Perimeter Institute

Marina Cortês talks at Perimeter Institute

Past Career

Marina Cortês has more than 15 years experience in cosmology. She worked in three continents, including National Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley, the Perimeter Institute in Canada, and the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh in the UK, before taking up her current position at the Institute for Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Lisbon, Portugal. She has worked both in large observational collaborations such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and from a purely theoretical perspective.

Her work has influenced our understanding of the Universe’s youngest stages, the mystery of its present acceleration, and especially the fundamental nature of time itself. Her 2013 Phys. Rev. Letters article `Anomalies in an Open Universe’ was selected as Special Highlight by the American Physical Society, an honour given only to less than 1% of all publications in this already exclusive journal. In 2015 her article `The Universe as Unique Events’ was awarded the USD 10,000 Inaugural Buchalter Cosmology Prize, jointly with Lee Smolin.

Organisation of Time in Cosmology

Time in Cosmology - Quanta Magazine

Cortes, M., Smolin, L. & Turok, N. (2016). Welcome and Opening Remarks. Perimeter Institute

Time in Cosmology

A global meeting that brought the world’s top experts on the millenia old puzzle of ``Time’’. The event took place at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Canada).

The uniqueness of this event was described in this Quanta Magzine article by Dan Falk The invitation-only meeting brought together leading intellectuals from all continents on theoretical physics, cosmology, biologists, philosophers, musicians and even visual artists. The conference featured a live interactive performance involving 100 metronomes, `Time is the Essence’.


-Marina Cortês (Institute for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, Portugal)
-Roberto Mangabeira Unger (Harvard Law)
-Lee Smolin (Perimeter Institute)

at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Canada)

Abstract, Participants and Videos here

Inaugural Buchalter Cosmology Prize: first place

Article on Open Inflation selected for highlights
by PRL

Viewpoint on her work:

Is the Lopsided Universe an Open Universe?

Written by Marc Kamionkowski (Johns Hopkins University, USA)

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