TSC 2011


                                                                                                               AULA MAGNA 



Keynote Address

Friday May 6, 11:10 am to 12:30 pm

Aula Magna Hall

Sir Roger Penrose

Consciousness and Physical Law

Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS is Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor at the Mathematical Institute at Oxford, and Emeritus Fellow at Wadham College. He is an historic and world-wide authority on the nature of reality, and renowned for pioneering work in black holes, twistors, spacetime geometry, cosmic censorship, Penrose tilings, quantum gravity and other areas. In 1989 he proposed consciousness as a particular form of quantum state reduction intrinsic to the universe, and later teamed with Stuart Hameroff to formalize the process in brain microtubules.  His awards include the 1988 Wolf Prize (shared with Stephen Hawking). He has authored numerous books including The Road to Reality and Shadows of the Mind. His most recent book, Cycles of Time proposes serial universes preceding the Big Bang.  


Consciousness and Physical Law

Roger Penrose


Abstract: A profound puzzle of quantum mechanics is that the discontinuous and probabilistic procedure adopted for measurement is in blatant contradiction with the continuous and deterministic unitary evolution of the Schrödinger equation. An inanimate measuring device, being made from quantum particles, ought to follow the unitary laws, so many physicists take the view that consciousness is ultimately needed for measurement. I here express the almost opposite view that the unitary law must be violated for massive enough systems, and that it is consciousness itself that depends upon this violation, requiring new physics and exotic biological structures for its manifestation. The issue of what kind of universe history could provide laws fine-tuned enough for consciousness to arise will also be raised.