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The Dutch translation of Sir Roger Penrose's monumental book "The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe" will be published. On this occasion, we organise a symposium with the author, followed by the book presentation.

Event details of Symposium: Road to Reality
Date 22 January 2019
Keynote speaker: Sir Roger Penrose

The main topic of the day is how the physical, mental and mathematical worlds are connected, as postulated in the "Three Worlds Model" by Sir Roger Penrose. This topic will be discussed from a new and unique perspective of complexity science.

Participation is by invitation only.



"Three Worlds Model" by Sir Roger Penrose

From 22 January 2019, a translation of the book "The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universeā€ by Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS will be available in Dutch. Many consider this book to be one of the most important works in modern science.

In this comprehensive account, mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose provides the mathematical underpinnings of the universe, after which he clearly describes our current understanding of the universe. He conveys a feeling for its deep beauty and the philosophical implications of our current viewpoint. Penrose provides an overview of theories attempting to unify quantum mechanics and gravity. The translation is a joint publication by Merlin Uitgaven and Meromorf Press.

To celebrate the Dutch translation, the UvA Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) organises a scientific Symposium on 22 January 2019 about the connection between the physical, mental and mathematical worlds. Sir Penrose will be speaking, as well as theoretical physicist Renate Loll, neuroscientists Rainer Goebel and Sacha van Albada, and mathematician Bart de Smit. Afterwards, the book presentation will take place.

All lectures will become available on video.


12:00-12:30   Walk-in with sandwiches
12:30-12:40   Welcome and introduction by IAS Scientific Director, Prof. Peter Sloot
12:40-13:30   Sir Roger Penrose: Three Worlds model
13:30-13:50   Prof. Renate Loll (physics)
13:50-14:10   Coffee / tea break
14:10-14:40   Prof. Rainer Goebel & Dr. Sacha van Albada (cognitive neuroscience)
14:40-15:00   Escher and the Droste effect:
Art presentation by Prof. Bart de Smit (mathematics)
15:00-15:20   Coffee / tea break
15:20-16:20   Small group discussions
16:30-17:00   Plenary group presentations & discussion
17:00-18:00   Reception & Book Presentation


Poster design by Merel van der Wees, Studio Bleep

The Symposium is sponsored by NWO, Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics, Platform Wiskunde Nederland, Nikhef and Meromorf Press.

About Sir Roger Penrose

Sir Roger Penrose received several prizes and awards for his work, including the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1988, which he shared with Professor Stephen Hawking for showing the necessity of cosmological singularities and for elucidating the physics of black holes. He is well known for the Penrose tilings, as well as the Penrose stairs; the latter used by the Dutch artist M.C. Escher in the lithograph "Ascending and Descending" (1960). Together with Stuart Hameroff, Penrose developed a theory of consciousness based on quantum physics.


On 23 January 2019 Sir Roger Penrose will give a Studium Generale lecture at Maastricht University.