Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Nine Notes about Penrose and Escher

Penrose created visually appealing and conceptually utilitarian conformal maps of spacetime including the point at infinity for general relativity.
Penrose published his first articles on diagrams with his dad, L.S. Penrose.  The article cited an M.C. Escher exhibit Penrose attended in 1954
Roger Penrose wrote over 20 books and articles referencing Escher.  You can find them all on Google Scholar

When Penrose and Penrose published their first article citing Escher’s work, he hadn’t created his woodcuts of the hyperbolic plane which illustrate a conformal infinity.  By 1962 when the first Penrose diagram, (a conformal map with infinity), appears, Escher had, (1959).
Escher’s woodcut is included in Penrose’s book “The Road to Reality”, and is very similar in form to Penrose’s first published conformal map of the point at infinity in spacetime.
Penrose used Escher’s “Waterfall” to illustrate aspects of Bell’s non-locality work.

This list was inspired by Aaron Wright’s recent article in Endeavour. It’s not open access, but if you’re near a university library, here’s the link.

Aaron’s other article on this subject isn’t open access either, but that’s OK as both articles’ are nicely summarized in one of Aaron’s blog posts.

Aaron is also a photographer.  http://photo.aaronswright.com/

The picture shown here is my favorite so far.

1.  Aaron Sidney Wright, The origins of Penrose diagrams in Physics, Art, and
the Psychology of perception, 1958–62, Endeavour, 37, (2014), 133

2.  Penrose Diagrams in PRL

3.  Escher Bats  1960

4.  Escher Fish  1959

5.  Penrose diagram first mentioned in t1962 at a conference in Warsaw Poland
Roger Penrose, ‘‘The light cone at infinity,’’ in Conference internationale sur les
the´ories relativistes de la gravitation: Sous la direction de L. Infeld, ed. L. Infeld
(Warszawa: PWN–Editions Scientifiques de Pologne, 1964), 369

6.  First Penrose diagram in PRL in 1963
Roger Penrose, ‘‘Asymptotic properties of fields and space-times,’’ Physical Review
Letters, 10 (2) 1963, 66–68.

7.  Penrose and Penrose cites Escher exhibit
L. S. Penrose and Roger Penrose, ‘‘Puzzles for Christmas,’’ New Scientist (Dec.)
1958, 1580.

8.  Additional Penrose and Penros article
L. S. Penrose and Roger Penrose, ‘‘Impossible Objects: A Special Type of Visual
Illusion,’’ British Journal of Psychology 49 (1), 1958, 31.

9.  Penrose on Escher in 1992

10.  Escher Waterfall

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