Roger Penrose interview: “Consciousness must be beyond computable physics.” | Science

Roger Penrose interview: “Consciousness must be beyond computable physics.” | Science

The mathematician shares his newest theories on quantum consciousness, the construction of the universe and the way to talk with civilisations from different cosmological aeons


14 November 2022

Dave Inventory

EARLY in his profession, the College of Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose impressed the artist M. C. Escher to create Ascending and Descending, the visible phantasm of a loop of staircase that appears to be eternally rising. It stays a becoming metaphor for Penrose’s ever enquiring thoughts. Throughout his lengthy profession, he has collaborated with Stephen Hawking to uncover the secrets and techniques of the massive bang, developed a quantum principle of consciousness with anaesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff and received the Nobel prize in physics for his prediction of areas the place the gravitational area could be so intense that space-time itself would break down, the so-called singularity on the coronary heart of a black gap. Undeterred by the march of time – Penrose turned 91 this 12 months – he’s persevering with to innovate, and even planning communications with future universes.

Michael Brooks: In 1965, close to the beginning of your profession, you used common relativity to make the primary prediction of the existence of singularities, as within the centres of black holes. How did it really feel to see the primary {photograph} of a black gap greater than half a century later?

Roger Penrose: If I’m trustworthy, it didn’t make a lot impression on me as a result of I used to be anticipating these items by then. Nevertheless, again once I first proved this [singularity] theorem, it was fairly a curious scenario: I used to be visiting Princeton to present a chat and I bear in mind Bob Dicke – a well known cosmologist, a really distinguished man – got here and slapped me on the again and stated, “You’ve finished it, you’ve proven common relativity is mistaken!” And that was fairly a typical view. I believe that even Einstein would in all probability have had that …

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