George Ellis (born August 11, 1939) is the Distinguished Professor of Complex Systems in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He co-authored The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with University of Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking, published in 1973, and is considered one of the world's leading theorists in cosmology. He is an active Quaker and in 2004 he won the Templeton Prize.

Ellis was a vocal opponent of apartheid during the National Party reign in the 1970s and 1980s, and it is during this period that Ellis' research has focused on the more philosophical aspects of cosmology, for which he won the Templeton Prize.

In 2005 Ellis appeared as a guest speaker at the Nobel Conference in St. Peter, Minnesota.


George Ellis proposed a model universe that contains a naked singularity as a recycling mechanism, which he claims gives almost as good a description of the real universe as the conventional model.

The Ellis universe is like a cylinder-shaped universe, except that the Earth is located on one side and a naked singularity on the other. There is no cosmic inflation – the galaxies are arranged very unevenly, with a great deal of material crowded round the singularity, and very little near the Earth. The effect of such a distribution of matter is to produce a red shift of light that, at the Earth, has the same characteristics as if the galaxies were receding.

In terms of philosophy of science, Ellis is a Platonist.


  • (with Stephen Hawking): Hawking, S.W.; Ellis, G.F.R. (1973). The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-20016-4.
  • (with David Dewar): Low Income Housing Policy in South Africa, Urban Problems Research Unit, UCT, 1979.
  • (with Ruth Williams): Flat and Curved Space Times, Oxford University Press, 1988, revised 2000.
  • Before the Beginning, Bowerdean/Marion Boyars, 1993.
  • (with A Lanza and J Miller): The Renaissance of General Relativity and Cosmology. University Press, Cambridge 1993; paperback, 2005.
  • Science Research Policy in South Africa, Royal Society of South Africa, 1994.
  • (with Nancey Murphy): On The Moral Nature of the universe: Cosmology, Theology, and Ethics. Fortress Press, 1996.
  • (with John Wainwright, Eds.): (1997) Wainwright, J.; Ellis, G.F.R. Dynamical Systems in Cosmology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-55457-8.
  • (with Peter Coles): Is The Universe Open or Closed? The Density of Matter in the Universe. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • (Ed.): The Far Future Universe. Templeton Foundation Press, 2002.


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