Dennis William Sciama

Dennis William Siahou Sciama FRS (November 18, 1926–December 18, 1999) was a British physicist who, through his own work and that of his students, played a major role in developing British physics after the Second World War.

Sciama also strongly influenced Roger Penrose, who dedicated his The Road to Reality to Sciama’s memory. The 1960s group he led in Cambridge (which included Ellis, Hawking, Rees, and Carter), has proved of lasting influence.

Sciama was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1982. He was also an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Academia Lincei of Rome. He served as president of the International Society of General Relativity and Gravitation, 1980-84.

In 1959 he married Lidia Dina, a social anthropologist, who survived him, along with their two daughters.

Alma mater
University of Cambridge

Doctoral advisor
Paul Dirac

Doctoral students

John D. Barrow
George Ellis
Gary Gibbons
Stephen Hawking
Martin Rees
David Deutsch
Brandon Carter

It was important that I understood the context of the entry by Phil Warnell.

Phil:

However, if the second is taken as truth and all is remembering, then what can the force of gravity do to a memory that is not in any, yet of all? So if all were to collapse would the memory not persist, since it is not of what vanished. Strangely, Hawking proved it so and yet he still denies his mentor who advised not only that it would be so, yet why

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3 Responses to Dennis William Sciama

  1. Phil Warnell says:

    Hi Plato,“It was important that I understood the context of the entry by Phil Warnell.”So you have found the linage of the mentor and even the one that was his. Now you will find that, although first Hawking and Penrose sprang from the same to be as like mind, to later have Penrose denied the same.Hawking’s says:“Roger Penrose and I worked together on the large scale structure of space and time, including singularities and black holes. We pretty much agree on the classical theory of theory of relativity but disagreements began to emerge when we got into quantum gravity. We now have different approaches to the world, physical and mental. Basically, he is a Platonist believing that’s there’s a unique world of ideas that describes a unique physical reality. I on the other hand, am a positivist who believes that physical theories are just mathematical models we construct, and it is meaningless to ask if they correspond to reality; just whether they predict observations.”( Chapter Six-The Large, the Small and the Human Mind-Roger Penrose-Cambridge University Press-1997)Penrose says:“Some people have difficulty with accepting Plato’s mathematical world as being in any sense ‘real’, and would gain no comfort from a view that physical reality itself is constructed from abstract notions. My own position on this matter is that we should take Plato’s world as providing a kind of ‘reality’ as mathematical notions (and as I’ve tried to argue for forcefully for in the case S1.3) but I might baulk at actually attempting to physically identify physical reality within the abstract reality of Plato’s world. I think that Fig. 34.1 best expresses my position on this question, where each of three worlds, Platonic-mathematical, physical and mental-has it’s own kind of reality, and where each is (deeply and mysteriously) found in one that precedes it ( the worlds take cyclicly). I like to think that, in a sense the Platonic world may be the most primitive of the three, since mathematics is a kind of necessity, virtually conjuring its very existence through logic alone. Be that as it may, there is a further mystery, or paradox, of the cyclic aspect of these worlds , where each seems to be able to encompass the succeeding one in its entirety, while itself seeming to depend only upon a small part of its predecessor.”(Page 1028-The Road to Reality- Roger Penrose- Borzoi Book, Alfred A. Knoff- 2004)So then you say, which is of the mentor and which is denial? To help determine, let as hear from another of his disciples who you listed as John D. Barrow, when he says in the close in my favourite of his books:“Many see the mathematics and the science edifice that is built upon it as the antithesis of traditional immaterial conceptions of reality. Yet at root they are strikingly similar in the tantalizing nature of their incompletenesses. And this is why we find the Platonic world so strangely attractive – we have been there before. Our ability to create and apprehend mathematical structures in the world is merely a consequence of our own oneness with the world. We are the children as well as the mothers of invention.”(page 297- PI IN THE SKY, counting, thinking, and being – John D. Barrow – Oxford University Press-1992)So know you have heard the three, so then, who serves to be followers of their mentor and who denies?Best,Phil

  2. Plato says:

    Our ability to create and apprehend mathematical structures in the world is merely a consequence of our own oneness with the world.(page 297- PI IN THE SKY, counting, thinking, and being – John D. Barrow – Oxford University Press-1992)and then in the next line John D. Barrow writes,”We are the children as well as the mothers of invention.”This sets my mind on the question again of whether mathematics is “invented or discovered.”If the “method of invention” was to be considered in context of a “road to discovery,” then this would encapsulate, “It was a matter of putting things together and ‘seeing’ the answer!” Roger Penrose- Shadows of the mindand….”To answer ‘by intuition’, is hardly satisfactory.”Paul Benacerraf and Hillary PutnamJohn D Barrows statement of “We are the children as well as the mothers of invention,” would then be held held too, the tutelage prospects of Roger Penrose’s ideals? But I could be mistaken.My next blog entry shall clarify the relationship of Penrose and Hawking and the divergence of their ideals in terms of that bet.Your quote of Hawking is important from this perspective as well and shall highlight this distinction.Hawking’s says:“Roger Penrose and I worked together on the large scale structure of space and time, including singularities and black holes. We pretty much agree on the classical theory of theory of relativity but disagreements began to emerge when we got into quantum gravity. We now have different approaches to the world, physical and mental. Basically, he is a Platonist believing that’s there’s a unique world of ideas that describes a unique physical reality. I on the other hand, am a positivist who believes that physical theories are just mathematical models we construct, and it is meaningless to ask if they correspond to reality; just whether they predict observations.”( Chapter Six-The Large, the Small and the Human Mind-Roger Penrose-Cambridge University Press-1997)Thanks Phil. I wanted to say as well this brings a lot of information forward in my mind about lineage and the mentorship that what influences passes between people in that lineage. I would have also like to point out “Gauss and Riemann” in the same vain, with respect to the influences that may affect the student, that I also saw inherent in Dirac as well.This statement of “where Language ends” is a critical one in my view, of recognizing the “stop off point” necessary for this divergence amongst the students of Dennis William Sciama, as well as, the divergence of the Mentorship from those same students.The teacher sets the course, and the student follows. But only for a short time:)

  3. PlatoHagel says:

    Our ability to create and apprehend mathematical structures in the world is merely a consequence of our own oneness with the world.(page 297- PI IN THE SKY, counting, thinking, and being – John D. Barrow – Oxford University Press-1992)and then in the next line John D. Barrow writes,\”We are the children as well as the mothers of invention.\”This sets my mind on the question again of whether mathematics is \”invented or discovered.\”If the \”method of invention\” was to be considered in context of a \”road to discovery,\” then this would encapsulate, \”It was a matter of putting things together and ‘seeing’ the answer!\” Roger Penrose- Shadows of the mindand….\”To answer ‘by intuition’, is hardly satisfactory.\”Paul Benacerraf and Hillary PutnamJohn D Barrows statement of \”We are the children as well as the mothers of invention,\” would then be held held too, the tutelage prospects of Roger Penrose\’s ideals? But I could be mistaken.My next blog entry shall clarify the relationship of Penrose and Hawking and the divergence of their ideals in terms of that bet.Your quote of Hawking is important from this perspective as well and shall highlight this distinction.Hawking’s says:“Roger Penrose and I worked together on the large scale structure of space and time, including singularities and black holes. We pretty much agree on the classical theory of theory of relativity but disagreements began to emerge when we got into quantum gravity. We now have different approaches to the world, physical and mental. Basically, he is a Platonist believing that’s there’s a unique world of ideas that describes a unique physical reality. I on the other hand, am a positivist who believes that physical theories are just mathematical models we construct, and it is meaningless to ask if they correspond to reality; just whether they predict observations.”( Chapter Six-The Large, the Small and the Human Mind-Roger Penrose-Cambridge University Press-1997)Thanks Phil. I wanted to say as well this brings a lot of information forward in my mind about lineage and the mentorship that what influences passes between people in that lineage. I would have also like to point out \”Gauss and Riemann\” in the same vain, with respect to the influences that may affect the student, that I also saw inherent in Dirac as well.This statement of \”where Language ends\” is a critical one in my view, of recognizing the \”stop off point\” necessary for this divergence amongst the students of Dennis William Sciama, as well as, the divergence of the Mentorship from those same students.The teacher sets the course, and the student follows. But only for a short time:)

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