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.
Present events:
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
LATEST NEWS
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.
Sir Roger also made outstanding contributions to other areas of the
theory of gravity and other fields of science. His works on the
asymptotic properties of space-time are fundamental for the theory of
gravitational radiation. Penrose's theory of twistors led to the
development of new branches of differential geometry and algebraic
topology. Penrose's tailing found its realization in nature in the form
of quasicrystals, a special form of a solid state in which atoms arrange
themselves in an apparently regular, but not repeating structure.
Penrose's Triangle Impossible was the inspiration for Escher's
paintings.
The last time we hosted Sir Roger Penrose in Poland as a guest of the
conference on the occasion of Jerzy Lewandowski's 60th birthday on
September 16-20, 2019. Sir Roger gave a lecture on the theory of
twistors:
Roger: Congratulations!
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.
Prof. Andrea Ghez became 4th woman winning Nobel Prize in Physics, after Maria Curie-Skłodowska (1903), Maria Goeppert-Mayer (1963), Donna Strickland (2018).
Present events:
8.10.2020: It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our colleague and friend, Profesor dr hab. Marek Szydłowski.
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Professor Szydłowski, long-standing scientist at Astronomical Observatory of the Jagiellonian Univeristy, was a member of the Polish Society on Relativity since its inception. He was also a member of the Commission of Complex Systems of the Polish Academy of Skills and a member of Mark Kac Complex Systems Research at the Jagiellonian University.
Born in 1952 in Tarnów, he studied Philosophy at the Catholic University of Lublin, where he met Rev. Prof. Michał Heller – later his PhD supervisor. It was a starting point of a long, fruitful collaboration and friendship of these two scientists. He gained his PhD from the Catholic University of Lublin in 1982 after defending his thesis entitled: „Problem of the ensemble of universes in relativistic cosmology”. This was the beginning of applications of dynamical systems theory in cosmology, to become later an important thread of his research. Dynamical systems became an important tool, whose applications in cosmology and beyond made Marek Szydłowski a world-wide recognized specialist. He held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Maryland in the team of Charles Misner – the icon of classical theory of relativity. After coming back, he was appointed at the Astronomical Observatory of the Jagiellonian University where he spent the rest of his life. His scientific interests comprised the dynamics of homogeneous cosmological models (including multi-dimensional cosmologies) and the assessment how typical are certain dynamical behaviours (e.g. inflationary phase) in this class. Next research topic pursued by Marek Szydłowski was focused on the invariant description of deterministic chaos in general relativity, in particular in Bianchi IX cosmological model. He formulated and developed with his collaborators, an original approach of reducing the dynamics of cosmological models to a geodesic flow on some manifold and then investigating the sensitivity of trajectories on the initial conditions by investigating the curvature of this manifold. Just after the first announcements of the discovery of accelerating expansion of the universe, Marek Szydłowski appreciated the value of this result, despite the initial scepticism of a considerable part of scientific community. The next, fertile period of his scientific activity begins abounding in numerous, recognized by international community, results concerning the search for a physical mechanism of accelerated expansion, including various forms of modified gravity, formulating respective models and testing them on current observational material.
Marek Szydłowski was a man of emotional sensitivity, deep knowledge and amazingly wide scientific horizons. Besides cosmology, he published a lot of papers in philosophy, scientometrics and economics. In macroeconomics he was interested the business cycle modelling, especially the role of investment time lags as a cause of cyclic behaviour in an economy. Marek passed away leaving his wife Mariola and daughters: Anna and Katarzyna in deep sorrow and mourn. For those who knew him personally, he was always a source of inspiration, an exemplar of creativity, energy, vitality and numerous talents. His personality attracted to him many young collaborators. In the hearts of Marek’s friends, there will remain an emptiness forever. A void, which could only be filled with memories of the moments spent with Marek on discussions, memories of his sincerity and support we could always count on.
6.10.2020:Joshua N. Goldberg, a honorary member of the Society and Professor Emeritus at Syracuse University passed away on October 6, 2020.
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Joshua Goldberg was born on May 30, 1925 in Rochester, New York. He attended the University of Rochester and received there a Bachelor’s degree in 1947. Since 1947 he was connected with Syracuse University and under supervision of Peter Bergmann started graduate studies in general theory of relativity and obtained a PhD degree in physics in 1952. General relativity became the main are of his scientific activity. Initially he was interested in equations of motion of extended bodies and conservation laws. Using the Einstein-Infeld-Hoffman approximation method he showed that the terms describing radiation cannot be eliminated by a coordinate transformation and that they determine the flux energy carried by gravitational waves. In 1962 in collaboration with Rainer Sachs they showed that a vacuum spacetime is algebraically special if and only if it contains a sheer free null geodesic congruence. This so called now Goldberg-Sachs theorem opened up a new way of obtaining exact solutions of the Einstein field equations culminating with the Robinson-Trautman solution and the Kerr metric. Later after Newman and Penrose developed spinorial approach to general relativity Goldberg studied asymptotic properties of the gravitational field and the electromagnetic field. That had led him to collaborate with members of the elementary particles group at Syracuse University in preparing a fundamental paper on spin-s spherical harmonics that later was widely used in studying sources of gravitational radiation. Goldberg has written several papers on canonical and Hamiltonian framework in general relativity. His interest then focused on the role of null cone and null surfaces in study of dynamics of spacetimes.
In the early years after the Second World War the US Air Force decided to sponsor scientific research including also research in general relativity. For several years Goldberg was formally working at the Wright Petterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. During his connection with the US Air Force Goldberg was able to secure continuous funding for research on general relativity. Using these funds Peter Bergmann and Joshua Goldberg created at Syracuse University a world class relativity center. Several Polish relativists have spent some time at this center. For all of them Joshua Goldberg and his wife Gloria provided help and warm hospitality.
Joshua Goldberg visited Poland several times. For the first time he came to participate in the Jabłonna Conference in 1962 and for the last time he was in Warsaw at Jurek Lewandowski Fest in September 2019, with several visits in between.
Joshua Goldberg always seemed to be at peace and ready to help. We will miss him very much.
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.