Jeff Murugan was born in Tongaat, a little town on South Africa's north east coast in 1976 and grew up there until the end of apartheid when, in 1994, the year of South Africa's first democratic election, he moved to Cape Town to commence undergraduate studies at the University of Cape Town. On completion of a BSc degree, majoring in applied mathematics and physics, he obtained a first class Honours degree in specialising in mathematical physics also at UCT. This was followed by an MSc (awarded with distinction) for a thesis on topological solutions of low dimensional field theories. In 2000, he was awarded a Lindbury Fellowship to pursue a PhD jointly at UCT and Worchester College, Oxford University under the supervision of George Ellis and Philip Candelas respectively. After being awarded a PhD for his work on noncommutative geometry in string theory, he began work as a postdoctoral fellow in the High Energy Theory group at Brown University, specialising in the gauge theory/gravity correspondence. He returned to a faculty position as a lecturer at UCT in 2006. 


Prof. Murugan is currently a deputy head of the Department of Mathematics & Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town and Deputy director of its Astrophysics, Cosmology & Gravity Centre. In 2012 he founded, and now heads, the Laboratory for Quantum Gravity & Strings (QGASLAB), a dynamic young research group that brings together researchers in string theory, quantum gravity and cosmology. Among his accolades, he is the recipient of the bronze medal of the South African Mathematical Society, a founding member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS), current president of the South African Gravity Society and a member of the International Advisory Committee of Strings 2014 and 2015. He is married to noted South African cosmologist Prof. Amanda Weltman and they are the proud parents of two wonderful boys and two slightly above average dogs.