# Ivor Robinson (physicist)

**Ivor Robinson** (October 7, 1923 – May 27, 2016)^{[1]}^{[2]} was a British-American mathematical physicist, born and educated in England, noted for his important contributions to the theory of relativity. He was a principal organizer of the Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics.

## BiographyEdit

Born in Liverpool, October 7, 1923, "into a comfortable Jewish middle-class family",^{[3]} Ivor Robinson studied at Cambridge University, where he was influenced by the mathematician Abram Samoilovitch Besicovitch. He took his B.A. in Mathematics in 1947. His first academic placements were at University College of Wales, King's College London, University of North Carolina, University of Hamburg, Syracuse University and Cornell University.^{[2]}

Alfred Schild was developing a department strong in relativity at Austin, Texas, when a second Texas center for relativity research was proposed. Lloyd Berkner was directing the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies at Dallas and brought Ivor Robinson there in 1963 when it was a "windowless cube on the Southern Methodist University campus".^{[4]} Robinson was head of the Mathematics and Mathematical Physics division.^{[5]} This institution became the University of Texas at Dallas. "Ivor was charged with the formation of a mathematical physics group concentrating on general relativity and cosmology."^{[2]} He brought Istvan Ozsváth and Wolfgang Rindler to Dallas.

According to Rindler, "No one who knew him will forget what a brilliant conversationalist he was, with his sonorous deep voice and ultra-English accent, with his convictions and occasional mischievousness."^{[2]} "Ivor Robinson is a brilliant mathematician who showed us the elegant simplicity of space-time by pointing to its null structure."^{[4]}

Robinson retired in 2000, remaining Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.

## ContributionsEdit

Ivor Robinson contributed extensively to modern developments in the theory of relativity. He is known for his pioneering work on null electromagnetic fields, for his collaboration with Andrzej Trautman on models for spherical gravitational waves, and for the Bel–Robinson tensor. Roger Penrose has credited him as an important influence in the development of twistor theory, through his construction of the so-called **Robinson congruences**.^{[6]}

## Symposium seriesEdit

Astrophysical sciences developed with attention to spectra of celestial sources to ascertain the chemical origin of these sources. The addition of radio astronomy extended the range of these spectra and revealed quasi-stellar sources with peculiar spectra. Maarten Schmidt and Jesse Greenstein found extreme red shifts in their studies, which demanded an explanation. Relativistic astrophysics offered its services as a generator of models such as black holes and their environs. Robinson, Schücking, and others organized the first **Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics** for December, 1963, in Dallas.^{[4]} The Proceedings were published by University of Chicago Press as *Quasi-stellar Sources and Gravitational Collapse*. "It is now conventional wisdom that quasars are probably powered by rotating black holes, but it was here at Dallas that the black hole concept emerged as a serious astronomical hypothesis."^{[4]}

The following year, a second Symposium, had *Quasars and High-energy Astronomy* as its published proceedings. The series continued with Symposia in alternate years. The sixth Symposium, held in New York in 1972, had its proceedings published by the New York Academy of Sciences. The following volumes of the Annals of the Academy are proceedings of the Symposium series: 224, 264, 302, 336, 375, 422, 470, 571, 647, 688, and 759. In 1974 the Symposium was back in Dallas, but then it travelled: Boston, Munich (twice), Baltimore, Austin (twice), Jerusalem, Chicago, Brighton, Berkeley, Paris, Stanford, and many subsequent venues. From the point of view of astrophysics, a rotating black hole corresponds to a Kerr metric. The astronomical picture of a quasar involves an active galactic nucleus with a supermassive black hole.

## WorksEdit

- 1959: (with Hermann Bondi and Felix Pirani) "Gravitational Waves in General Relativity III. Exact Plane Waves",
*Proceedings of the Royal Society A*251:519-533 doi:10.1098/rspa.1959.0124. - 1960: (with Andrzej Trautman) "Spherical Gravitational Waves", Physical Review Letters 4:431.
- 1961: "Null Electromagnetic Fields", Journal of Mathematical Physics 2:290,1 doi:10.1063/1.1703712
- 1962: (with Peter G. Bergmann and Engelbert Schücking) "Asymptotic Properties of a System with Nonzero Total Mass", Physical Review 126(3):1227 doi:10.1103/PhysRev.126.1227
- 1962: (with Andrzej Trautman) "Some Spherical Gravitational Waves in General Relativity",
*Proceedings of the Royal Society A*doi:10.1098/rspa.1962.0036 - 1963; (with Alfred Schild) "Generalization of a Theorem by Goldberg and Sachs",
*Journal of Mathematical Physics*4:484 doi:10.1063/1.1703980 - 1964: (with Andrzej Trautman) "Exact Degenerate Solutions of Einstein’s Equations", in
*Relativistic Theories of Gravitation*edited by Leopold Infeld, Pergamon Press - 1969: (with J.R. Robinson and J.D. Zund) "Degenerate Gravitational Fields with Twisting Rays", Journal of Mathematics and Mechanics 18(9):881–92
- 1969: (with Alfred Schild and H. Strauss) "The Generalized Reissner-Nordstrom Solution",
*International Journal of Theoretical Physics*2(3):243–5 doi:10.1007/BF00670010 - 1969: (with Joanna R. Robinson) "Vacuum Metrics without Symmetry",
*International Journal of Theoretical Physics*2(3):231–42 doi:10.1007/BF00670009 - 1975: "On Vacuum Metrics of Type (3,1)", General Relativity and Gravitation 6(4):423–7 doi:10.1007/BF00761974
- 1976: (with Jerzy Plebanski) "Left-degenerate Vacuum Metrics",
*Physical Review Letters*37(9):493 doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.37.493 - 1977: (with Alberto Garcia and Jerzy Plebanski) "Null Strings and Complex Einstein-Maxwell Fields with Cosmological Constant",
*General Relativity and Gravitation*8(10):841–54 doi:10.1007/BF00759588 - 1978: (with Jerzy Plebanski) "Electromagnetic and Gravitational Hertz Potentials",
*Journal of Mathematical Physics*19(11):2350–8 doi: 10.1063/1.523593 - 1982: "Null Congruences and Plebanski-Schild Spaces", in
*Spacetime and Geometry: The Alfred Schild Lectures*, University of Texas Press - 1983: (with Andrzej Trautman) "Conformal Geometry of Flows in N Dimensions",
*Journal of Mathematical Physics*24:1425 - 1984: (with Krzysztof Rozga) "Lightlike Contractions on Minkowski Spacetime",
*Journal of Mathematical Physics*25(3): 499 to 505 doi:10.1063/1.526189 - 1984: (with Krzysztof Rozga) "On Some Family of Congruences of Null Strings",
*Journal of Mathematical Physics*25(3): 589 to 96 doi:10.1063/1.526208 - 1984: (with Krzysztof Rozga) "Congruence of Null Strings in Complex Spacetimes and Some Cauchy-Kovaleski-type Problems",
*Journal of Mathematical Physics*25(6):1941–6 doi:10.1063/1.526383 - 1985: (with Istvan Ozsvath and Krzysztof Rozga) "Plane-fronted Gravitational and Electromagnetic Waves in Spaces with Cosmological Constant",
*Journal of Mathematical Physics*26(7):1755–61 doi: 10.1063/1.526887 - 1985: (with Peter A. Hogan) "The Motion of Charged Test Particles in General Relativity", Foundations of Physics 15(5): 617–27 doi:10.1007/BF01882486
- 1985: (with Andrzej Trautman) "Integrable Optical Geometry", Letters in Mathematical Physics 10(2–3) doi:10.1007/BF00398155
- 1993: (with Edward P. Wilson) "The Generalized Taub-NUT Congruence in Minkowski Spaces", General Relativity and Gravitation 25(3)
- 1993: (with Andrzej Trautman) "The Conformal Geometry of Complex Quadrics and the Fractional-Linear Form of Möbius Transformations",
*Journal of Mathematical Physics*34(11):5391–5406 doi:10.1063/1.530311 - 1997: "On the Bel-Robinson Tensor", Classical and Quantum Gravity 14(1A);A331–3
- 1998: (with Paul MacAlevey) "An Invariant of Type N Spaces",
*Classical and Quantum Gravity*15(12): 3935,6 - 2000: (with Bogdan Nita) "An Invariant of Null Spinor Fields",
*Classical and Quantum Gravity*17(10):2149–52. - 2002: (with P. Downes, P. MacAlevey, and B. Nita) "Approximate Solutions of Type (3,1) and (4)" International Journal of Modern Physics A 17(20): 2733,4

## ReferencesEdit

**^**"Robinson, Ivor 1923-".*OCLC WorldCat*. Retrieved 25 November 2015.- ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}"Ivor Robinson, Founding Leader of Math, Physics Departments, Dies".*UT Dallas News*. Retrieved 22 June 2016. **^**Wolfgang Rindler & Andrzej Trautman,*Gravitation and geometry: a volume in honour of Ivor Robinson*, Bibliopolis (1987), p. 9- ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}Engelbert Schucking (August 1989) The First Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics Physics Today **^**"SCAS Final Annual Report 1968-1969" (PDF).*University of Texas at Dallas, School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics*. Retrieved 25 November 2015.**^**Penrose, Roger. "On the Origins of Twistor Theory (*Gravitation and Geometry, a Volume in Honour of I. Robinson*)". Retrieved 25 November 2015.

- Wolfgang Rindler and Andrzej Trautman (1989)
*Gravitation and Geometry: A Volume in Honour of Ivor Robinson*ISBN 978-8870881424.

## External linksEdit

- Ivor Robinson at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- Christina Sormani, C. Denson Hill, Paweł Nurowski, Lydia Bieri, David Garfinkle, and Nicolás Yunes (August 2017). "A two-part feature: The Mathematics of Gravitational waves" (PDF).
*Notices of the American Mathematical Society*. American Mathematical Society.**64**(07): 684-707. ISSN 1088-9477.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)