The Cyclic Universe
A conversation with Roger Penrose

In the last twenty years, cosmology has unexpectedly emerged as one of the most exciting and dynamic fields of modern science. From astoundingly precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background to the ongoing mysteries of dark energy and dark matter, modern cosmology is unquestionably in ...


About Roger Penrose:

Sir Roger Penrose is one of the most eminent mathematical physicists of our age. Among many other accomplishments, he is known for the development of the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems (with Steven Hawking), twistor theory, the Weyl curvature hypothesis, Penrose tilings and spin networks. ...


Some Additional Resources:
Cycles of Time

by Roger Penrose

From Eternity to Here

by Sean Carroll

The Road to Reality

by Roger Penrose

The Emperor's New Mind

by Roger Penrose

Shadows of the Mind

by Roger Penrose

Cycles of Physicists (Commentary Excerpt)

Does it make sense to use the vehicle of a popular science book to put forward one’s own theory of modern cosmology?

Obviously not.

After all, physical cosmology is a highly technical, deeply abstract field of study that represents the culmination of much of our knowledge of modern physics. In order to fully comprehend its subtleties, one must have a thorough mastery of general relativity, differential geometry, thermodynamics, quantum field theory and a good deal else besides.

Frankly put, it is virtually inconceivable that a non-specialist could somehow navigate his way through the rigorous arguments to have the slightest real idea of what is actually being proposed. Moreover, it is common knowledge that putting the necessary explanatory equations or technical diagrams in a popular book will drastically diminish its sales, while omitting all mathematical details will clearly trivialize the ideas beyond recognition, eviscerating them of any scientific content whatsoever.

And then there’s the fact that a well-defined, international community of scientific experts already exists for precisely the purpose of evaluating new ideas: there is a welter of well-respected journals in which to publish original work, and no shortage of scientific conferences at which to try to convince one’s colleagues. Any attempt to somehow circumvent this process and publish one’s pet theory in a popular book is hardly destined to be enthusiastically endorsed by the scientific establishment.

For most of us, then, the idea of producing a popular book about our iconoclastic cosmological views is little short of a terribly bad idea. The general public won’t be the slightest bit interested and the scientific community will have you for lunch.

But then, most of us aren’t Sir Roger Penrose...

For the full Commentary, purchase this issue from our site, or buy the eBook from or iBookstore, or download our app off Apple Newsstand. Each issue comes with the commentary, the full conversation, a biography of our guest, as well as references for further exploration.