Hayden Planetarium Programs

Frontiers Lecture: Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe

September 19, 2016

Penrose Lecture

What can fashionable ideas, blind faith, or pure fantasy possibly have to do with the scientific quest to understand the universe? Surely, theoretical physicists are immune to mere trends, dogmatic beliefs, or flights of fancy? In fact, acclaimed physicist and bestselling author Roger Penrose argues that researchers working at the extreme frontiers of physics are just as susceptible to these forces as anyone else. In this provocative book, he argues that fashion, faith, and fantasy, while sometimes productive and even essential in physics, may be leading today's researchers astray in three of the field's most important areas—string theory, quantum mechanics, and cosmology. A book signing will follow.

Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics Emeritus at the University of Oxford, is one the world’s foremost theoretical physicists and has won numerous prizes, including the Albert Einstein Medal, for his fundamental contributions to general relativity and cosmology. Among other publications, he is the bestselling author, with Stephen Hawking, of The Nature of Space and Time (Princeton).