The aim of the Society is to consolidate the outstanding Polish relativists in the thriving environment, worldwide promotion of the information about the Polish achievements in relativity, bringing to Poland the knowledge of achievements of other communities in the area of the theory of relativity, the provision of the best possible conditions for Polish students, postgraduates and young scientists to help start their own research at the highest level in the modern fields of relativistic physics and mathematics of space-time.
24.03.2021: It was with great sadness that we learned that Ted Newman, an honorary member of our Society, passed away on March 24, 2021, at the age of 92.
Ted Newman was born in New York City and graduated from the famous Bronx High School of Science there, then studied physics at New York University where he received his B.S. in 1951. He did his doctoral studies at Syracuse University in Peter Bergmann's group receiving his PhD in 1956. In 1956 he joined the University of Pittsburgh and worked there for the rest of his life. In the early 1960s Peter Bergmann organized a large group at Syracuse to work on the general theory of relativity. Members of this group included Joshua Goldberg, Roger Penrose, Rainer Sachs, Roy Kerr and for the 1960/61 academic year Ted Newman was also there. The focus was on research on two fundamental problems - gravitational waves and quantization of the gravitational field. Roger Penrose was fascinated by the spin description of the gravitational field and, together with Newman, wrote down Einstein's equations in the language of spinors creating the Newman-Penrose formalism, which is still popular today. Over the next several years, Newman developed this formalism and applied it to the study of the asymptotic properties of the gravitational field and the search for new exact solutions to Einstein's equations. Using this formalism, he found a rigorous solution to the Einstein-Maxwell equations describing an electrically charged and rotating black hole. Such a black hole is now called a Kerr-Newman black hole. He and his collaborators L. Tamburino and T. Unti found a vacuum extension of the Schwarzschild metric now known as the NUT spacetime. The Newman-Penrose formalism naturally introduces a composite description of spacetime. Together with Allen Janis, Newman proposed a new method for finding exact solutions to Einstein's equations using the complex coordinate rotations and basis vectors used in the Newman-Penrose formalism. The study of the asymptotic properties of gravitational and electromagnetic fields led to the discovery of asymptotic null surfaces associated with the congruence of null geodesic without shear. The intersection of these surfaces with the null boundary of conformally completed spacetime was named Heaven because they are self-dual solutions to Einstein's vacuum equations. The study of null geodesic congruences also allowed Newman to introduce the classification of caustics and wave fronts and a more accurate description of gravitational lensing. More recently, Newman has been interested in the possibility of reproducing the behavior of compact sources of a gravitational field from the asymptotic properties of that field. Ted Newman first came to Poland in 1962 for the International Conference on the Theory of Gravitation in Jablonno. He took a special liking to Poland and came very often, usually together with Josh Goldberg. His favorite time for visits was the second half of June, when fresh strawberries and cherries were available at the stalls in Warsaw. Ted Newman was usually full of energy and ideas. He liked classical music and greatly appreciated Górecki and especially Penderecki. He was last in Warsaw for Jurek Fest in September 2019.
NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS 2020 (Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel, Andrea Ghez)
A group of friends discussing over dinner the classical and quantum black holes [Warszawa, Sep the 14th, 2019]
from left: Jerzy Lewandowski, Roger Penrose, Yongge Ma, Ted Newman, Carlo Rovelli, Francesca Vidotto
Sir Roger Penrose, Honorary Member of the Polish Society on Relativity
is among the 2020 Nobel Laureates in Physics. His distinguished achievement is the black hole theory. The concept of a black hole can
already be found in the work of Laplace and was developed thanks to Einstein's theory and the solutions of Schwarzschild and Kerr (to which
also Robinson and Trautman contributed). However, it was Sir Roger who proved the spacetime singularity theorem
and formulated the cosmic censorship conjecture that imply that black
hole is the final stage for a large class of gravitational collapse
processes, in fact inevitable if a trapped surface has formed in
space-time. Penrose also discovered, in a purely theoretical way, the
process of extracting energy from a black hole at the expense of its
momentum. Today's observations confirm the role that the Penrose process
plays in black hole astrophysics. PoToR members continue to research
various new issues in black hole theory.
From the left: Tomasz Trzesniewski, Daniel Nemeth, Michal Artymowski, Roger Penrose, Jan Ostrowski, Jerzy Lewandowski
Another part of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 is shared by prof. Andrea Ghez (University of California, Los Angeles) and prof. Reinhard Genzel (Max Plank Instiute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching) "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy".
They are leaders of two research teams, who have been monitoring the motions of stars orbiting the Galactic centre for nearly three decades.
Genzel’s group used telescopes in Chile operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), while Ghez and her colleagues used the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
Their works have been essential for proving that the supermassive black hole resides in the center of our Galaxy, as predicted by the theory of gravity.
Penrose’s discovery of the singularity theorem showed that black holes are a robust consequence of general relativity, forming naturally in very overdense regions. The central few parsecs of the Milky Way harbours a rich cluster of stars and hot gas. These have been used to trace the gravitational potential of the Galactic centre defined by the compact radio source Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), at a distance of 25,000 light years. If the mass concentration at
the very centre of the Galaxy is made of a single supermassive black hole, the velocities of stars there should be growing for progressively smaller radii, as for planets around the Sun. Such Keplerian orbits should not arise if the mass is due to a spatially distributed cluster of stellar-mass objects.
Thanks to the work of Ghez and Genzel's groups, the orbits of the brightest stars closest to the middle of the Milky Way have been mapped with increasing precision. Their pioneering work has given us the most convincing evidence yet of a supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.
8.10.2020: It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our colleague and friend, Profesor dr hab. Marek Szydłowski. [More/Less]
6.10.2020: Joshua N. Goldberg, a honorary member of the Society and Professor Emeritus at Syracuse University passed away on October 6, 2020. [More/Less]
On 25th of September 2020 there was Generral Meeting of PoToR. Participants have chosen new board of society. The board now consits of: Jerzy Lewandowski (president), Jakub Mielczarek (vice-president), Agnieszka Janiuk (treasurer, finances), Patryk Mach, Marek Rogatko. Audit Committee consits of Jacek Jezierski, Jerzy Kowalski-Glikman and Tomasz Trześniewski.
Virtual Conference of the Polish Society on Relativity 2020 (online platform - Zoom, 24-26.09.2020)
The Meeting: "Singularities of general relativity and their quantum fate" (21-25.05.2018, Banach Mathematical Center, Warszawa)
Informations about PSR:
Statute of the PSR (27.11.2011, in Polish)
Address: ul. Pasteura 5, 02-093 Warszawa, Poland
REGON number: 145894150
NIP number: 7010330694
KRS number: 0000401941
E-mail: potor (at domain: fuw.edu.pl)