2021 STAG Public Lecture- ‘The problem in space-time singularities: where does this lead us in Cosmology?’

Following the success of the previous STAG (Southampton Theory, Astrophysics and Gravitation Research Centre) public lectures, we would like to invite you to the 2021 lecture. This year’s lecture ‘The problem in space-time singularities: where does this lead us in Cosmology?’ will be presented at 2.30pm on Wednesday 20th October by the recent recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor Sir Roger Penrose. The lecture will be given in the auditorium of the Turner Sims Concert Hall but due to the ongoing pandemic, we are running the lecture online for schools this year via
Zoom. There will be the opportunity to ask the speaker questions via an online submission tool.

The singularity theorems of the 1960s showed that not only are the space-time singularities of gravitational collapse generic expectations of classical general relativity, but so also is the big-bang singularity a generic phenomenon (work largely by Stephen Hawking) for a rapidly expanding early universe. Whereas the
mathematical arguments are time-symmetric in this way, our physical expectations (profoundly related to the 2nd Law of thermodynamics) are very different for the two types of singularity. The common view is that the resolution of the singularity problem must be through quantum gravity, but this cannot resolve this gross
and fundamental time-asymmetry problem.

Conformal geometry provides a completely different outlook, which not only resolves this issue, but leads to observational implications that appear to be strongly confirmed in recent analyses of the cosmic microwave background radiation.