(Acquaints the specialist in relativity theory with some g...)

Acquaints the specialist in relativity theory with some global techniques for the treatment of space-times and will provide the pure mathematician with a way into the subject of general relativity.

The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics

(In this absorbing and frequently contentious book, Roger ...)

In this absorbing and frequently contentious book, Roger Penrose - eminent physicist and winner, with Stephen Hawking, of the prestigious Wolf prize - puts forward his view that there are some facets of human thinking that can never be emulated by a machine. Although the book ranges widely over relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and cosmology, its central concern is what philosophers call the "mind-body problem."

Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness

(In Shadows of the Mind, Penrose offers another exhilarati...)

In Shadows of the Mind, Penrose offers another exhilarating look at modern science as he mounts an even more powerful attack on artificial intelligence. But perhaps more important, in this volume he points the way to new science, one that may eventually explain the physical basis of the human mind.

(Roger Penrose's views on the large-scale physics of the U...)

Roger Penrose's views on the large-scale physics of the Universe, the small-scale world of quantum physics and the physics of the mind are controversial and widely discussed. This book is a fascinating and accessible summary of Roger Penrose's current thinking on those areas of physics in which he feels there are major unresolved problems. It is also a stimulating introduction to the radically new concepts that he believes will be fruitful in understanding the workings of the brain and the nature of the human mind.

The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe Paperback January 9, 2007

(Nobel Prize-winner Roger Penrose, one of the most accompl...)

Nobel Prize-winner Roger Penrose, one of the most accomplished scientists of our time, presents the only comprehensive - and comprehensible - account of the physics of the universe.

Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe

(Intellectually thrilling and widely accessible, Cycles of...)

Intellectually thrilling and widely accessible, Cycles of Time is a welcome new contribution to our understanding of the universe from one of our greatest mathematicians and thinkers.

Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe

(Penrose describes how fashion, faith, and fantasy have ir...)

Penrose describes how fashion, faith, and fantasy have ironically also shaped his own work, from twistor theory, a possible alternative to string theory that is beginning to acquire a fashionable status, to "conformal cyclic cosmology," an idea so fantastic that it could be called "conformal crazy cosmology." The result is an important critique of some of the most significant developments in physics today from one of its most eminent figures.

Roger Penrose is a British mathematician and relativist who in the 1960s calculated many of the basic features of black holes. For his work on black holes, he was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics. He shared the prize with American astronomer Andrea Ghez and German astronomer Reinhard Genzel.

Background

Roger Penrose was born on August 8, 1931, in Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom. He is the son of Lionel Penrose and Margaret Leathes. Penrose's family is a very talented lot. His father was a well-respected geneticist, his brother is another renowned physicist and his other brother is a Chess Grandmaster.

Education

Roger Penrose attended University College School and undertook undergraduate studies at University College School, London, and got a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics at the University of London. Penrose earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree at St. John's College, Cambridge, London in 1957 and subsequently held a number of academic posts, including a professorship at Oxford.

Penrose held temporary posts at a number of universities in both England and the United States. From 1964 to 1973 he served as a reader and eventually professor of applied mathematics at Birkbeck College, London. From 1973 he held the Rouse-Ball Chair of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He was knighted for his services to science in 1994.

In 1969, with Stephen Hawking, Penrose proved that all matter within a black hole collapses to a singularity, a geometric point in space where mass is compressed to infinite density and zero volume. Penrose also developed a method of mapping the regions of space-time surrounding a black hole. (Space-time is a four-dimensional continuum comprising three dimensions of space and one of time.) Such a map, which is called a Penrose diagram, allows one to visualize the effects of gravitation upon an entity approaching a black hole. He also discovered Penrose tiling, in which a set of shapes can be used to cover a plane without using a repeating pattern.

The author of a substantial volume of scholarly work, Penrose is also well known for his books designed for the lay audience. In 1989 Penrose's book The Emperor's New Mind moved onto the bestseller lists and earned Penrose wide acclaim and fame outside the scholarly community. Penrose has also authored other well-received books, including Shadows of the Mind (1994) and The Large, the Small and the Human Mind (1997). In 1996 Penrose worked with Hawking to produce another well-regarded book titled The Nature of Space and Time.

(In Shadows of the Mind, Penrose offers another exhilarati...)

1996

Religion

Once in the interview, Penrose said: "I'm not a believer myself. I don't believe in established religions of any kind. I would say I'm an atheist."

Views

Penrose has made substantial contributions to theories of the very vast and the very small. His work has provided deeper insight into relativity theory, especially general relativity theory, applications of mathematics to physics and cosmology (the study of the origins and nature of the Universe), and to the subatomic world of quantum theory. Penrose and Hawking's efforts toward advancing the theory of general relativity, put forth by Albert Einstein (1879-1955) in the first half of the twentieth century, established the necessity for cosmological singularities (black holes). This insight was a significant contribution toward the understanding of the life cycles and deaths of stars, as well as toward models concurring the origin and fate of the Universe.

Working with Hawking, Penrose provided mathematical proof that the matter within a black hole must eventually collapse under gravity into a singularity, a geometric point in space with no size (and hence no volume) where the mass of the black hole is compressed to infinite density. Penrose developed what are known as Penrose Diagrams that map the spacetime and the gravitational environment surrounding a black hole.

Penrose has also contributed to the advancement of theories of consciousness, quantum cosmology, the development of artificial intelligence, and other topics that explore the nature of physics, knowledge, and reality.

Seemingly far removed from his work in mathematical physics, Penrose's personal interest in tessellation type puzzles lead to important practical discoveries regarding the nature of quasicrystals (crystals that form in a quasi-periodic fashion), subsequently used in industry to provide cookware with protective non-stick coatings. In 1958 Penrose and his father advanced the abstract concept of strange loops with the hypothetical Penrose square stairway, wherein travel in either direction resulted in no net loss or gain in elevation and another impossible figure known as the tribar. Penrose also developed the concept of what is now known of Penrose tiling (the complete covering without gaps or overlaps of a two-dimensional planar surface with two sizes of a rhomboid or pentagon-shaped tiles).

Quotations:
"Consciousness ... is the phenomenon whereby the universe's very existence is made known."

"It is always the case, with mathematics, that a little direct experience of thinking over things on your own can provide a much deeper understanding than merely reading about them."

"There is a certain sense in which I would say the universe has a purpose. It's not there just somehow by chance. Some people take the view that the universe is simply there and it runs along-it's a bit as though it just sort of computes, and we happen by accident to find ourselves in this thing. I don't think that's a very fruitful or helpful way of looking at the universe. I think that there is something much deeper about it, about its existence, which we have very little inkling of at the moment."

"Intelligence cannot be present without understanding. No computer has any awareness of what it does."

"I would say the universe has a purpose. It's not there just somehow by chance."

"We have a closed circle of consistency here: the laws of physics produce complex systems, and these complex systems lead to consciousness, which then produces mathematics, which can then encode in a succinct and inspiring way the very underlying laws of physics that gave rise to it."

Membership

Roger Penrose is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a member of the London Mathematics Society, Cambridge Philosophical Society, Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, International Society for General Relativity and Gravitation. He is also a Foreign associate National Academy of Sciences.

Royal Society
,
United Kingdom

London Mathematics Society
,
United Kingdom

Cambridge Philosophical Society
,
United Kingdom

Institute for Mathematics and its Applications

Personality

Roger Penrose enjoys watching Indian movies, such as 15 Park Avenue.

Interests

reading, puzzles, miniature stone carving, piano

Sport & Clubs

chess

Connections

Roger Penrose was married to Joan Isabel Wedge (marriage dissolved in 1981), the couple had three children together. Later he married Vanessa Dee Thomas on April 19, 1988.