Roger Penrose

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Primary Section: 13, Physics
Membership Type:
International Member (elected 1998)

Research Interests

My research has been primarily in areas of mathematical physics, especially general relativity and the foundations of quantum mechanics. I have worked on tiling problems and their relation to quasicrystals and on various pure mathematical problems. I have an interest in philosophical issues, particularly the question of how consciousness might be explicable scientifically (notably in relation to quantum state reduction) and in the popularization of science. Much of my work has a strong geometrical flavor. Two main lines provide my current research interest. The first is twistor theory, which is an approach (in terms of complex geometry) to the unification of space-time structure with quantum-mechanical principles. I have worked on this for some 35 years, but only recently have the required breakthroughs come about that enable Einstein's field equations to come within the scope of the theory. The second of my main current research interests is the question of quantum state reduction, which I argue is a gravitational effect. I have proposed experiments, apparently well within the scope of present technology, which could provide a definitive test of these ideas.

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