Oliver Penrose

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Oliver Penrose
Born (1929-06-06) 6 June 1929 (age 85)
[London], England
Residence United Kingdom
Nationality British
Fields Physics
Institutions Imperial College, London
Open University
Heriot-Watt University
Alma mater University College, London
King's College, Cambridge
Doctoral advisor H N V Temperley
Doctoral students E R Smith
D J Gates.
Known for Bose–Einstein condensation in liquid helium
direction of time
kinetics of phase transitions
foundations of statistical mechanics
Influences L Onsager
He is the brother of Shirley Victoria Hodgson, Jonathan Penrose and Roger Penrose, son of Lionel Penrose, and grandson of John Beresford Leathes. He is the nephew of Roland Penrose and cousin of Antony Penrose.

Oliver Penrose FRS, FRSE (born 1929) is a British theoretical physicist.[1]

He is the son of the scientist Lionel Penrose, brother of the mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, and brother of chess master Jonathan Penrose.[2][3] He was associated for seventeen years with the Open University, and was a Professor of Mathematics at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh from 1986 until his retirement in 1994. He holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Heriot-Watt, and remains active in research there. His areas of interest include statistical mechanics,[4] phase transitions in metals, and physical chemistry of surfactants. He is particularly known for the concept of off-diagonal long-range order, which is central to our present-day understanding of superfluids and superconductors. Other more abstract topics in which he has worked include understanding the physical basis for the direction of time and interpretations of quantum mechanics.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ "Notes", The rainbow and the worm: the physics of organisms by Mae-Wan Ho, World Scientific, 1998, Pg. 77
  2. ^ "A Priviledged View of Scientific and Artistic Brilliance", Image processing III: mathematical methods, algorithms and applications by Jonathan M. Blackledge and Martin J. Turner, Horwood Publishing, 2001, Pg. 2
  3. ^ "The Mandelbrot Set", Why Beliefs Matter: Reflections on the Nature of Science by E. Brian Davies, Oxford University Press, 2010, Pg. 119
  4. ^ "Papers dedicated to Oliver Penrose on the occasion of his 65th birthday", Volume 77, Issues 1–2 of Journal of statistical physics
  5. ^ "Quantum Mechanics and Real Events", Quantum chaos—quantum measurement by Predrag Cvitanović, Ian Percival, Andreas Wirzba and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Scientific Affairs Division, Springer, 1992, Pg. 257
  6. ^ "Maxwell's demon 2: entropy, classical and quantum information, computing" by Harvey S. Leff and Andrew F. Rex, CRC Press, 2003
  7. ^ "The physical review—the first hundred years:" a selection of seminal papers and commentaries, Volume 1 by H. Henry Stroke, Springer, 1995

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