aOne September day in 1964, Roger Penrose and his fellow gossip ran into a busy street in London. Traffic blocked the flow of his companion’s speech for a brief moment—a moment when Penrose had an idea, but immediately forgot it until the fellow said goodbye to him. “Suddenly I had this strange feeling of exhilaration,” the British gravity theorist later said. At that time he wondered where it came from – then he remembered the street and its idea. As it turns out, this was the crucial step in proving that black holes actually exist: if a sufficiently massive star runs out of nuclear fire, force it Albert Einstein The theory of gravity proposes the collapse of the star into something from which the light from its surroundings no longer escapes, but ends up in the so-called singularity at the center of the former star. For this realization, Roger Penrose was awarded half the Nobel Prize in Physics 56 years later.
famous for a long time. Not quite as popular as his compatriot Stephen Hawking Of course, with whom he was later able to show in the 1960s that according to Einstein’s theory, the entire universe necessarily has an individual feature as well – here is one at the beginning of all things, in the Big Bang. Without the connection to the Hawking media phenomenon, Penrose would never have become a movie personality (embodied by Christian McKay in Hawking’s biographical film The Theory of Everything from 2014), but he also became a widely influential scholar—albeit without anything. ambiance.
Exceptionally wide field of interest
As the son of a prominent geneticist, brother to a statistics professor and a chess professor, Roger Penrose never grew up knowing he was always the smartest person in the room. And he always took great pleasure in explaining his ideas and research questions not only to fellow professionals and making them understandable with his hand-drawn drawings. He has so far published five non-fiction books for a wider audience, one of which is over a thousand pages long. They sold well for very well – despite Penrose’s refusal to give up on mathematics and their symbolic language, and despite the highly demanding content.
These large portions extend from the exceptionally broad field of interest of the studied mathematician who, after completing his doctoral thesis, turned to theoretical physics under the influence and remained loyal to Paul Dirac, although he held the Rouse Ball chair in mathematics from 1973 until his retirement in 1998 at the University of Oxford. Sir Roger, as he was allowed to call himself since receiving the Queen’s Medal in 1994, has in his career dealt with logic and questions about the limits of artificial intelligence, and engineering – to which he contributed so-called Penrose tiling – with cosmology. And always with gravity and still its completely unexplained relationship with quantum physics.
In matters of cosmology, his scientific and popular work strives to stay grounded in what is empirically accessible, at least in principle. Colleagues who rant about the multiverse or who sell their natural philosophical ideas as physical theories find little support from him. Regarding the search for a unified theory of quantum gravity, Penrose firmly believes that he should be guided more by Einstein’s theory of gravity and less by quantum laws. Most of the methods used today, first of all string theory, do just the opposite and have one of their most intelligent and original critics in Roger Penrose. Today, the genius mathematician and doctor is 90 years old.
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