Monday, 25th June, 2012 Registration opens: 7:00pm Lecture: 8:00-9:30pm Register Here!

The closing public lecture will be held at Manchester Town Hall (click here for directions). Admission is free and open to the general public.

About the Speaker

Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS

Sir Roger Penrose is renowned for his contributions to mathematical physics, especially in the areas of general relativity and cosmology.  He is particularly well known for the invention of twistor theory in 1967 and for the discovery of Penrose tilings in 1974.

Penrose attended University College School and University College London, where he studied Mathematics, before earning a PhD from Cambridge University.  He has earned numerous awards for his work, including the Wolf Prize for Physics in 1988, the De Morgan Medal in 2004 and the Copley Medal in 2008.

Penrose is currently Francis and Helen Pentz Distinguished Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Pennsylvania State University and Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford.


Following Alan Turing’s ground-breaking 1937 paper, which introduced his notion of the Universal Turing machine, he suggested, in 1939, generalizations based on ordinal logic and oracle machines, these being apparently motivated by attempts to model the mathematical mind in a way that could evade the apparent limitations presented by Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. In this talk, I introduce the idea of a “cautious oracle” as a more human version of Turing’s oracles. Nevertheless, I show that even this fails to capture the essence of the full capabilities of our understanding.

I raise the issue of possible physical processes that would appear to be needed in order to circumvent these Gödel-type restrictions. At the end of the talk, I report on some startling new experiments, which appear to point to new insights into the possible physical processes underlying conscious brain activity, and I speculate on how this might relate to the power of human understanding.


Registration for this lecture is through the EasyChair system. To register, access the Turing-100 EasyChair page and follow the on-screen instructions to create an account; you will then be asked to fill in your details. For public lecture registration, please select the 'public lectures only (free)' option.