The Large, the Small and the Human Mind

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 28, 2000 - Computers - 201 pages
4 Reviews
Roger Penrose's original and provocative ideas about the large-scale physics of the Universe, the small-scale world of quantum physics and the physics of the mind have been the subject of controversy and discussion. These ideas were proposed in his best-selling books The Emperor's New Mind and Shadows of the Mind. In this book, he summarises and updates his current thinking in these complex areas to present a masterful summary of those areas of physics in which he feels there are major unresolved problems. Through this, he introduces radically new concepts which he believes will be fruitful in understanding the workings of the brain and the nature of the human mind. These ideas are challenged by three distinguished experts from different backgrounds: Abner Shimony and Nancy Cartwright as philosophers of science and Stephen Hawking as a theoretical physicist and cosmologist. Roger Penrose concludes with a response to their thought-provoking criticisms.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Lectures by a renowned mathematician and physicist on the connections of relativity and quantum theory (the science of the very large and the very small), with an eye to understanding the nature of ... Read full review

Review: The Large, the Small and the Human Mind

User Review  - Melissa Dills - Goodreads

I was all enthusiastic about this book, but I couldn't get through it. Not sure if it's the writing or my own limitations as a reader (probably a mixture of the two). Read full review

Selected pages


Spacetime and Cosmology
The Mysteries of Quantum Physics
Physics and the Mind
On Mentality Quantum Mechanics and the Actualization of Potentialities
Why Physics?
The Objections of an Unashamed Reductionist
Roger Penrose Responds
Goodsteins Theorem and Mathematical Thinking

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About the author (2000)

Born in England, the son of a geneticist, Roger Penrose received a Ph.D. in 1957 from Cambridge University. Penrose then became a professor of applied mathematics at Birkbeck College in 1966 and a Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University in 1973. Penrose, a mathematician and theoretical physicist, has done much to elucidate the fundamental properties of black holes. With Stephen Hawking, Penrose proved a theorem of Albert Einstein's general relativity, asserting that at the center of a black hole there must evolve a "space-time singularity" of zero volume and infinite density, in which the current laws of physics do not apply. He also proposed the hypothesis of "cosmic censorship," which claims that such singularities must possess an event horizon. In 1969 Penrose described a process for the extraction of energy from a black hole, as well as how rotational energy of the black hole is transferred to a particle outside the hole. In addition, Penrose has done much to develop the mathematics needed to unite general relativity, which deals with the gravitational interactions of matter, and quantum mechanics, which describes all other interactions.

Stephen William Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England. As a student at Oxford University, Hawking studied Physics, and after three years was awarded a first class honors degree in Natural Science. After gaining a Ph.D. from Cambridge, Hawking became a Research Fellow, and later on a Professional Fellow at Gonville and Caius College. Widely regarded as one of the greatest theoretical physicists since Einstein, Hawking has held the post as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge since 1979. Most famous for his research on black holes, he has written the books A Brief History of Time and Black Holes and Baby Universes, a collection of essays published in 1993. He also authored the books On the Shoulders of Giants, A Briefer History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell, and The Grand Design. Hawking is also the author of numerous articles for scientific papers, has 12 honorary degrees and is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Hawking was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in his early 20s and is now confined to a wheelchair. He uses a computer device to help him speak. Hawking holds a professorship at the University of Oxford. In 2015 Hawking's book A Brief History of Time, which he completed in 1984, became listed on the New York Times bestseller list.

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