Twistor Theory, Then and Now

Other Talks
Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 3:00pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Howey Physics Lecture Room 5
Roger Penrose – Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford
Stavros Garoufalidis
Twistor theory is now over 45 years old. In December 1963, I proposed the initial ideas of this scheme, based on complex-number geometry, which presents an alternative perspective to that of standard 4-dimensional space-time, for the basic arena in which (quantum) physics takes place. Over the succeeding years, there were numerous intriguing developments. But many of these were primarily mathematical, and there was little interest expressed by the physics community. Things changed rather dramatically, in December 2003, when E. Witten produced a 99-page article initiating the subject of “twistor-string theory” this providing a novel approach to high-energy scattering processes. In this talk, I shall provide an account of the original geometrical and physical ideas, and also outline various recent developments, some of which may help our understandings of the seeming paradoxes of quantum mechanics.