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Public Lecture: "Science and the Mind" by Sir Roger Penrose

Submitted by David Newman
Phone: (907) 474-5878


World-renowned physicist Sir Roger Penrose will present a public lecture on the human brain and the phenomenon of conscious thought, Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Schaible Auditorium on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.

The lecture, "Science and the Mind," is for a general audience for which Penrose will discuss how present day computers are unable to mimic the mind.

"A physical explanation of consciousness will require something more than computation and must lie outside the confines of the physical science of the day though not necessarily of the future," said Penrose.

His research interests vary from geometry, having made contributions to the theory of non-periodic tilings, to relativity theory and the foundations of quantum theory. His main research has been the development of the theory of twistors, which he originated more than 30 years ago in an attempt to unite Einstein's physics with quantum physics. He has been fascinated with a field of geometry known as tessellation, the covering of a surface with tiles of prescribed shapes. Some of the "Penrose Tiles," have been commercialized and used in buildings.

"Roger Penrose is one of the most brilliant mathematical physicists of our time," said David Newman, UAF physics professor. "It's not often you get to hear someone of his caliber speak here or anywhere."

Penrose, the Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, was knighted in 1994 for his outstanding contributions to science and mathematics. He has received a number of prizes and awards including the 1998 Wolf Prize which he shared with Stephen Hawking, the Royal Society Royal Medal, the Albert Einstein prize and the Dirac Medal, among others.

His book, the "Emperor's New Mind," became a best seller and won the 1990 (Rhone-Poulenc) Science Book Prize. He has also written "Shadows of the Mind," "The Nature of Space and Time," which he co-authored with Hawking in 1996, and "The Large, the Small and the Human Mind."

Penrose will present a technical lecture on quantum theory Monday, Sept. 8 at 3 p.m. in room 201 of the Natural Sciences Facility.

CONTACT: David Newman at (907) 474-7858 or e-mail ffden@uaf.edu for more information, or Carla Browning, UAF Public Information Officer at (907) 474-7778 or e-mail carla.browning@uaf.edu.

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