The Large, the Small and the Human Mind

Author: Roger Penrose
Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1st edition
Published: March 13, 1997
ISBN: 0521563305
Pages: 201
Language: English


In this book, Roger Penrose presents a masterly summary of those areas of physics in which he feels there are major unsolved problems. These ideas are then 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. Finally, Roger Penrose responds to their thought-provoking criticisms.

The book explores the relationship between the physics of the very large, as described by cosmology and general relativity, and the physics of the very small, as described by quantum mechanics. Penrose argues that our current understanding of these two domains of physics is inconsistent, and that a new theory is needed to reconcile the two and provide a complete understanding of the physical universe. He also delves into the nature of human consciousness and its relationship to the physical world.

Overall, the book is a wide-ranging and thought-provoking examination of some of the deepest questions in physics and the mind-body problem, and offers Penrose’s unique perspectives on these subjects.

This paperback edition has been updated to include a striking and easily accessible example of Gödel’s theorem, and a ground-breaking proposal for a physical experiment designed to test some of Penrose’s most novel ideas about quantum mechanics. Penrose’s enthusiasm, insight and good humour shine through this accessible, illuminating, and brilliant account of 21st-century theoretical physics.


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