A profile of Roger Penrose by Philip Ball

roger_penrose_1I have mentioned several times in this blog that Roger Penrose is one of my three heroes in physics – others being Albert Einstein and Gerard ‘t Hooft.

The UK magazine Prospect published a profile of Roger Penrose. I enjoyed this article written by Philip Ball.

Why do I admire Roger Penrose so much?

It is not just his breadth – from mathematics to gravitational theories to quantum mechanics and most importantly to his research into the nature of consciousness – but it is also his courage to challenge the scientific establishment that deserves my respect.

Roger Penrose is 85 years old. He has not received a Nobel Prize yet. He deserves multiple Nobel Prizes in my opinion. In the past, the Nobel committee used to award the Nobel Prize to physicists for their lifetime contributions. The Nobel committee does not do that any more.

Here’s few quotations from Philip Ball’s article at the Prospect magazine:

“…Penrose is irrepressibly eclectic in his learning. He is given to mixing the insightful with the wildly speculative in a way that is almost unknown today, floating ideas that younger colleagues would never dare to—such as the notion that quantum mechanics might explain consciousness. Penrose shrugs off labels such as “maverick,” pleading that he is “much more accepting of conventional wisdom than most of the others I know.” It is hard to tell how much of this bemusement is real and how much a wry performance, but whatever it is that he seeks, it’s neither approval nor modish notoriety.”

“…the career structures and pressures facing young researchers make it increasingly hard to find the time simply to think. According to several early-career scientists interviewed by Nature, the constant need to bring in grant money, to produce papers and administer groups, leaves little time to do any research, still less indulge anything so abstract and risky as an idea.”

“So in the standoff between quantum mechanics and general relativity, Penrose thinks that the former will crack first.”


About Suresh Emre

I have worked as a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. I am a volunteer for the Renaissance Universal movement. My main goal is to inspire the reader to engage in Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness.
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