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› Find signed collectible books: 'Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe'
This groundbreaking book presents a new perspective on three of cosmologys essential questions: What came before the Big Bang? What is the source of order in our universe? And what cosmic future awaits us?
Penrose shows how the expected fate of our ever-accelerating and expanding universeheat death or ultimate entropycan actually be reinterpreted as the conditions that will begin a new Big Bang. He details the basic principles beneath our universe, explaining various standard and non-standard cosmological models, the fundamental role of the cosmic microwave background, the paramount significance of black holes, and other basic building blocks of contemporary physics. Intellectually thrilling and widely accessible, Cycles of Time is a welcome new contribution to our understanding of the universe from one of our greatest mathematicians and thinkers.
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› Find signed collectible books: 'THE EMPEROR'S NEW MIND: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics'
Some love it, some hate it, but The Emperor's New Mind, physicist Roger Penrose's 1989 treatise attacking the foundations of strong artificial intelligence, is crucial for anyone interested in the history of thinking about AI and consciousness. Part survey of modern physics, part exploration of the philosophy of mind, the book is not for casual readers--though it's not overly technical, it rarely pauses to let the reader catch a breath. The overview of relativity and quantum theory, written by a master, is priceless and uncontroversial. The exploration of consciousness and AI, though, is generally considered as resting on shakier ground.
Penrose claims that there is an intimate, perhaps unknowable relation between quantum effects and our thinking, and ultimately derives his anti-AI stance from his proposition that some, if not all, of our thinking is non-algorithmic. Of course, these days we believe that there are other avenues to AI than traditional algorithmic programming; while he has been accused of setting up straw robots to knock down, this accusation is unfair. Little was then known about the power of neural networks and behavior-based robotics to simulate (and, some would say, produce) intelligent problem-solving behavior. Whether these tools will lead to strong AI is ultimately a question of belief, not proof, and The Emperor's New Mind offers powerful arguments useful to believer and nonbeliever alike. --Rob Lightner
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Emperor's Guide to the Physical Universe'
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› Find signed collectible books: 'The Large, the Small and the Human Mind'
Will quantum physics let us reduce consciousness to computation? Roger Penrose says "no" with great force and eloquence in The Large, The Small, and the Human Mind. Originally prepared as a series of three lectures in Cambridge's Tanner Series on Human Values, the material is both meticulously thought out and informally presented, including many illustrations by Penrose and others. For publication, the author sought out rebuttals and commentary by philosophers Abner Shimony and Nancy Cartwright as well as his own colleague and occasional rival, the well-known theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, then reserves the last word for himself, as is his prerogative. The result is a sharp but polite argument on the nature of thinking and its reducibility; readers familiar with The Emperor's New Mind and Shadow of the Mind will find the arguments from quantum physics fleshed out in greater detail but also attacked with good-natured aplomb. Those who missed out on Penrose's older forays into this territory (or are somehow disinterested in the nature of thought) will find this an excellent, if broad, overview of the modern conception of physics from subatomic shenanigans to the radius of the universe as well as a stimulating debate among several great modern thinkers. Despite Penrose's certainty that our brains can't be modelled by computational systems--and hence that strong artificial intelligence will remain in science fiction--the argument continues, and will continue for some time. The Large, The Small, and the Human Mind crystallises that debate for readers who want to keep up with the latest thinking about thinking. --Rob Lightner
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› Find signed collectible books: 'The Nature of Space and Time'
Einstein said that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. But was he right? Can the quantum theory of fields and Einstein's general theory of relativity, the two most accurate and successful theories in all of physics, be united in a single quantum theory of gravity? Can quantum and cosmos ever be combined? On this issue, two of the world's most famous physicists--Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) and Roger Penrose (The Emperor's New Mind and Shadows of the Mind)--disagree. Here they explain their positions in a work based on six lectures with a final debate, all originally presented at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge.
How could quantum gravity, a theory that could explain the earlier moments of the big bang and the physics of the enigmatic objects known as black holes, be constructed? Why does our patch of the universe look just as Einstein predicted, with no hint of quantum effects in sight? What strange quantum processes can cause black holes to evaporate, and what happens to all the information that they swallow? Why does time go forward, not backward?
In this book, the two opponents touch on all these questions. Penrose, like Einstein, refuses to believe that quantum mechanics is a final theory. Hawking thinks otherwise, and argues that general relativity simply cannot account for how the universe began. Only a quantum theory of gravity, coupled with the no-boundary hypothesis, can ever hope to explain adequately what little we can observe about our universe. Penrose, playing the realist to Hawking's positivist, thinks that the universe is unbounded and will expand forever. The universe can be understood, he argues, in terms of the geometry of light cones, the compression and distortion of spacetime, and by the use of twistor theory. With the final debate, the reader will come to realize how much Hawking and Penrose diverge in their opinions of the ultimate quest to combine quantum mechanics and relativity, and how differently they have tried to comprehend the incomprehensible.
In a new afterword, the authors outline how recent developments have caused their positions to further diverge on a number of key issues, including the spatial geometry of the universe, inflationary versus cyclic theories of the cosmos, and the black-hole information-loss paradox. Though much progress has been made, Hawking and Penrose stress that physicists still have much farther to go in their quest for a quantum theory of gravity.
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› Find signed collectible books: 'The Nature of Space and Time [VHS]'
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, The Masterpiece Science Edition,'
Robert Geroch builds on Einstein's work with commentary that addresses the ideas at the heart of the theory, bringing a modern understanding of relativity to the text. He elucidates how special relativity is a reconciliation of the contradictions between the nature of light and the principle of relativity; he expands on Einstein's treatment of the geometry of space-time and the fundamental notion of an "event"; he explains in detail, but without technical language, the equivalence of inertial and gravitational mass, a cornerstone of general relativity.
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› Find signed collectible books: 'The Road to Reality'
If Albert Einstein were alive, he would have a copy of The Road to Reality on his bookshelf. So would Isaac Newton. This may be the most complete mathematical explanation of the universe yet published, and Roger Penrose richly deserves the accolades he will receive for it. That said, let us be perfectly clear: this is not an easy book to read. The number of people in the world who can understand everything in it could probably take a taxi together to Penrose's next lecture. Still, math-friendly readers looking for a substantial and possibly even thrillingly difficult intellectual experience should pick up a copy (carefully--it's over a thousand pages long and weighs nearly 4 pounds) and start at the beginning, where Penrose sets out his purpose: to describe "the search for the underlying principles that govern the behavior of our universe." Beginning with the deceptively simple geometry of Pythagoras and the Greeks, Penrose guides readers through the fundamentals--the incontrovertible bricks that hold up the fanciful mathematical structures of later chapters. From such theoretical delights as complex-number calculus, Riemann surfaces, and Clifford bundles, the tour takes us quickly on to the nature of spacetime. The bulk of the book is then devoted to quantum physics, cosmological theories (including Penrose's favored ideas about string theory and universal inflation), and what we know about how the universe is held together. For physicists, mathematicians, and advanced students, The Road to Reality is an essential field guide to the universe. For enthusiastic amateurs, the book is a project to tackle a bit at a time, one with unimaginable intellectual rewards. --Therese Littleton
› Find signed collectible books: 'The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe'
From one of our greatest living scientists, a magnificent book that provides, for the serious lay reader, the most comprehensive and sophisticated account we have yet had of the physical universe and the essentials of its underlying mathematical theory.
Since the earliest efforts of the ancient Greeks to find order amid the chaos around us, there has been continual accelerated progress toward understanding the laws that govern our universe. And the particularly important advances made by means of the revolutionary theories of relativity and quantum mechanics have deeply altered our vision of the cosmos and provided us with models of unprecedented accuracy.
What Roger Penrose so brilliantly accomplishes in this book is threefold. First, he gives us an overall narrative description of our present understanding of the universe and its physical behaviorsfrom the unseeable, minuscule movement of the subatomic particle to the journeys of the planets and the stars in the vastness of time and space.
Second, he evokes the extraordinary beauty that lies in the mysterious and profound relationships between these physical behaviors and the subtle mathematical ideas that explain and interpret them.
Third, Penrose comes to the arresting conclusionas he explores the compatibility of the two grand classic theories of modern physicsthat Einsteins general theory of relativity stands firm while quantum theory, as presently constituted, still needs refashioning.
Along the way, he talks about a wealth of issues, controversies, and phenomena; about the roles of various kinds of numbers in physics, ideas of calculus and modern geometry, visions of infinity, the big bang, black holes, the profound challenge of the second law of thermodynamics, string and M theory, loop quantum gravity, twistors, and educated guesses about science in the near future. In The Road to Reality he has given us a work of enormous scope, intention, and achievementa complete and essential work of science
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Roger Penrose: Collected Works: 1953-1967 v. 1'
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Roger Penrose: Collected Works (6 Volume Set)'
Professor Sir Roger Penrose is one of the truly original thinkers of our time. He has made several remarkable contributions to science, from quantum physics and theories of human consciousness to relativity theory and observations on the structure of the universe. Unusually for a scientist, some of his ideas have crossed over into the public arena. Now his work, spanning fifty years of science, with over five thousand pages and more than three hundred papers, has been collected together for the first time and arranged chronologically over six volumes, each with an introduction from the author. Where relevant, individual papers also come with specific introductions or notes.
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Roger Penrose: Collected Works, Vol. 2'
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Roger Penrose: Collected Works, Vol. 3'
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Roger Penrose: Collected Works, Vol. 4'
Professor Sir Roger Penrose's work, spanning fifty years of science, with over five thousand pages and more than three hundred papers, has been collected together for the first time and arranged chronologically over six volumes, each with an introduction from the author. Where relevant, individual papers also come with specific introductions or notes.
Among the new developments that occurred during this period was the introduction of a particular notion of 'quasi-local mass-momentum and angular momentum', the topic of Penrose's Royal Society paper. Many encouraging results were initially obtained but, later, difficulties began to emerge and remain today. Also, an extensive paper (with Eastwood and Wells) gives a thorough account of the relation between twistor cohomology and massless fields. This volume witnesses Penrose's increasing conviction that the puzzling issue of quantum measurement could only be resolved by the appropriate unification of quantum mechanics with general relativity, where that union must involve an actual change in the rules of quantum mechanics as well as in space-time structure. Penrose's first incursions into a possible relation between consciousness and quantum state reduction are also covered here.
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Roger Penrose: Collected Works, Vol. 5'
Professor Sir Roger Penrose's work, spanning fifty years of science, with over five thousand pages and more than three hundred papers, has been collected together for the first time and arranged chronologically over six volumes, each with an introduction from the author. Where relevant, individual papers also come with specific introductions or notes.
Publication of The Emperor's New Mind (OUP 1989) had caused considerable debate and Penrose's responses are included in this volume. Arising from this came the idea that large-scale quantum coherence might exist within the conscious brain, and actual conscious experience would be associated with a reduction of the quantum state. Within this collection, Penrose also proposes that a twistor might usefully be regarded as a source (or 'charge') for a massless field of spin 3/2, suggesting that the twistor space for a Ricci-flat space-time might actually be the space of such possible sources. Towards the end of the volume, Penrose begins to develop a quite different approach to incorporating full general relativity into twistor theory. This period also sees the origin of the Diósi-Penrose proposal.
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Roger Penrose: Collected Works, Vol. 6'
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness'
A New York Times bestseller when it appeared in 1989, Roger Penrose's The Emperor's New Mind was universally hailed as a marvelous survey of modern physics as well as a brilliant reflection on the human mind, offering a new perspective on the scientific landscape and a visionary glimpse of the possible future of science. Now, in Shadows of the Mind, Penrose offers another exhilarating look at modern science as he mounts an even more powerful attack on artificial intelligence. But perhaps more important, in this volume he points the way to a new science, one that may eventually explain the physical basis of the human mind.
Penrose contends that some aspects of the human mind lie beyond computation. This is not a religious argument (that the mind is something other than physical) nor is it based on the brain's vast complexity (the weather is immensely complex, says Penrose, but it is still a computable thing, at least in theory). Instead, he provides powerful arguments to support his conclusion that there is something in the conscious activity of the brain that transcends computation--and will find no explanation in terms of present-day science. To illuminate what he believes this "something" might be, and to suggest where a new physics must proceed so that we may understand it, Penrose cuts a wide swathe through modern science, providing penetrating looks at everything from Turing computability and Godel's incompleteness, via Schrodinger's Cat and the Elitzur-Vaidman bomb-testing problem, to detailed microbiology. Of particular interest is Penrose's extensive examination of quantum mechanics, which introduces some new ideas that differ markedly from those advanced in The Emperor's New Mind, especially concerning the mysterious interface where classical and quantum physics meet. But perhaps the most interesting wrinkle in Shadows of the Mind is Penrose's excursion into microbiology, where he examines cytoskeletons and microtubules, minute substructures lying deep within the brain's neurons. (He argues that microtubules--not neurons--may indeed be the basic units of the brain, which, if nothing else, would dramatically increase the brain's computational power.) Furthermore, he contends that in consciousness some kind of global quantum state must take place across large areas of the brain, and that it within microtubules that these collective quantum effects are most likely to reside.
For physics to accommodate something that is as foreign to our current physical picture as is the phenomenon of consciousness, we must expect a profound change--one that alters the very underpinnings of our philosophical viewpoint as to the nature of reality. Shadows of the Mind provides an illuminating look at where these profound changes may take place and what our future understanding of the world may be.
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Spinors and Space-Time: Volume 1, Two-Spinor Calculus and Relativistic Fields (Cambridge Monographs on Mathematical Physics)'
This volume introduces and systematically develops the calculus of 2-spinors. This is the first detailed exposition of this technique which leads not only to a deeper understanding of the structure of space-time, but also provides shortcuts to some very tedious calculations. Many results are given here for the first time.
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Spinors and Space-Time: Volume 2, Spinor and Twistor Methods in Space-Time Geometry (Cambridge Monog'
Spinor and Twistor Methods in Space-Time Geometry introduces the theory of twistors, and studies in detail how the theory of twistors and 2-spinors can be applied to the study of space-time. Twistors have, in recent years, attracted increasing attention as a mathematical tool and as a means of gaining new insights into the structure of physical laws. This volume also includes a comprehensive treatment of the conformal approach to space-time infinity with results on general-relativistic mass and angular momentum, a detailed spinorial classification of the full space-time curvature tensor, and an account of the geometry of null geodesics.
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Spinors and Space-Time: Volume 2, Spinor and Twistor Methods in Space-Time Geometry (Cambridge Monographs on Mathematical Physics)'
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Techniques of Differential Topology in Relativity (CBMS-NSF Regional Conference Series in Applied Mathematics)'
Acquaints the specialist in relativity theory with some global techniques for the treatment of space-times and will provide the pure mathematician with a way into the subject of general relativity.
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› Find signed collectible books: 'Twistor Symmetries and Particle Physics (Cambridge Lecture Notes in Physics)'
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› Find signed collectible books: 'White Mars'
White Mars is, as its title implies, Brian Aldiss's considered reply to the novels--Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars--in which Kim Stanley Robinson portrayed the terraforming of our neighbour planet and the creation of a utopian society there. Aldiss disapproves of the whole idea of meddling with another world in the first place, and also, more genially, of the melodrama surrounding the creation of Robinson's utopia. Where Robinson's Martians get their chance after near-genocidal warfare on Mars, and environmental disaster on Earth, Aldiss's get theirs as the result of a corruption and scandal-fuelled recession in which supplies for the Martian colony are a victim of cuts. This is, unusually for the shrewd and sometimes cynical Aldiss, a novel with a hero--Tom Jeffreys, the Thomas Jefferson of this Martian revolution:
"His manner was less severe than well controlled. He showed great determination for the cause in which he believed, yet softened it with humour, which sprang from an innate modesty. He was not above self-mockery. In his speech he adopted the manner of a plain man, yet what he said was often unexpected."
This is a very English, and a very urbane book, in which there is an awful lot of talk--about utopia, about consciousness, about sub-atomic particles; Aldiss collaborated on parts of the book with mathematician and physicist Roger Penrose--this is a wise book and also a knowledgeable one. --Roz Kaveney
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