George F. R. Ellis

George Francis Rayner Ellis, FRS, Hon. FRSSAf (born 11 August 1939), is the emeritus distinguished professor of complex systems in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He co-authored The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with University of Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking, published in 1973, and is considered one of the world's leading theorists in cosmology.[1] From 1989 to 1992 he served as president of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation. He is a past president of the International Society for Science and Religion. He is an A-rated researcher with the NRF.

George F R Ellis
George Ellis 0040.jpg
Born
George Francis Rayner Ellis

(1939-08-11) 11 August 1939 (age 81)
NationalitySouth African
EducationMichaelhouse
Alma mater
Known forTheoretical physical cosmology
AwardsTempleton Prize 2004
Scientific career
FieldsCosmology
Institutions
Doctoral advisorDennis W. Sciama

Ellis, an active Quaker, was a vocal opponent of apartheid during the National Party reign in the 1970s and 1980s, and it is during this period that Ellis's research focused on the more philosophical aspects of cosmology, for which he won the Templeton Prize in 2004.[2] He was also awarded the Order of the Star of South Africa by Nelson Mandela, in 1999. On 18 May 2007, he was elected a fellow of the British Royal Society.

LifeEdit

Born in 1939 to George Rayner Ellis, a newspaper editor, and Gwendoline Hilda MacRobert Ellis in Johannesburg, George Francis Rayner Ellis attended the University of Cape Town, where he graduated with honours in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics with distinction. He represented the university in fencing, rowing and flying.

While a student at Cambridge University, where he received a PhD in applied maths and theoretical physics in 1964, he was on college rowing teams.

At Cambridge, Ellis served as a research fellow from 1965 to 1967, was assistant lecturer in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics until 1970, and was then appointed university lecturer, serving until 1974.

Ellis became a visiting professor at the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago in 1970, a lecturer at the Cargese Summer School in Corsica in 1971 and the Erice Summer School in Sicily in 1972, and a visiting H3 professor at the University of Hamburg, also in 1972.

The following year, Ellis co-wrote The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with Stephen Hawking, debuting at a strategic moment in the development of General Relativity Theory.

In the following year, Ellis returned to South Africa to accept an appointment as professor of applied mathematics at the University of Cape Town, a position he held until his retirement in 2005.

In 2005 Ellis appeared as a guest speaker at the Nobel Conference in St. Peter, Minnesota.

WorkEdit

George Ellis has worked for many decades on anisotropic cosmologies (Bianchi models) and inhomogeneous universes, and on the philosophy of cosmology.[3] He is currently writing on the emergence of complexity, and the way this is enabled by top-down causation in the hierarchy of complexity.[4]

In terms of philosophy of science, Ellis is a Platonist.[5]

PublicationsEdit

BooksEdit

  • ——; Hawking, S.W. (1973). The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time. Cambridge: University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-20016-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)[6]
  • ——; Dewar, David (1979). Low Income Housing Policy in South Africa. Urban Problems Research Unit, UCT.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • ——; Williams, Ruth (1988). Flat and Curved Space Times (2000 revised ed.). Oxford University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • —— (1993). Before the Beginning: Cosmology Explained. Bowerdean/Marion Boyars.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • ——; Lanza, A.; Miller, J. (1993). The Renaissance of General Relativity and Cosmology (2005 paperback ed.). Cambridge: University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • —— (1994). Science Research Policy in South Africa. Royal Society of South Africa.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • ——; Murphy, Nancey (1996). On The Moral Nature of the universe: Cosmology, Theology, and Ethics. Fortress Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • ——; Wainwright, John, eds. (1997). Dynamical Systems in Cosmology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-55457-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • ——; Coles, Peter (1997). Is The Universe Open or Closed? The Density of Matter in the Universe. Cambridge: University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • ——, ed. (2002). The Far Future Universe. Templeton Foundation Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • —— (2004). Science in Faith and Hope: an interaction. Quaker Books.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • —— (2004a). Science and Ultimate Reality: Quantum Theory, Cosmology and Complexity. Cambridge: University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83113-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • —— (2006). Handbook in Philosophy of Physics. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-444-53002-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • ——; Maartens, Roy; MacCallum, Malcolm A. H. (2012). Relativistic Cosmology. Cambridge: University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • —— (2016). How Can Physics Underlie the Mind? Top-Down Causation in the Human Context. Springer.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

PapersEdit

Ellis has over 500 published articles; including 17 in Nature. Notable papers include:

HonoursEdit

In 2019 Rhodes University in Grahamstown announced it would award Ellis an honorary doctorate in laws (LLD, hc)[7]

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Gibbs, W. W. (1995). "Profile: George F. R. Ellis – Thinking Globally Acting Universally". Scientific American. 273 (4): 50–55. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1095-50.
  2. ^ "Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities". Archived from the original on 24 February 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2007.
  3. ^ Ellis 2006, pp. 1183-1285.
  4. ^ Ellis 2012, pp. 126–140.
  5. ^ Ellis 2004a, pp. 607–636.
  6. ^ Markus, Lawrence (1976). "Book Review: The large scale structure of space-time". Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. 82 (6): 805–818. doi:10.1090/S0002-9904-1976-14169-9. ISSN 0002-9904.
  7. ^ "Rhodes University honours five of Africa's best". grocotts.co.za. 7 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.

External linksEdit