Ellis, George F(rancis) R(ayner) 1939-
ELLIS, George F(rancis) R(ayner) 1939-
Born August 11, 1939, in Johannesburg, South Africa; son of George Rayner and Gwendoline (MacRobert) Ellis; married Jane Mary Sue Parkes, 1963 (divorced); married Mary Roberts MacDonald, 1978; children: Margaret, Andrew. Education: University of Cape Town, B.S., 1961; St. John's College, Cambridge, Ph.D., 1964; University of Cape Town, B.Com., 1984.
Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, lecturer, 1968-73; University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, professor of applied mathematics, 1973-87, professor of complex systems, 1989—; Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA), Trieste, Italy, professor of cosmic physics, 1987-89. Visiting professor at Texas University, University of Chicago, Hamburg University, Boston University, and the University of Alberta.
Royal Society of South Africa (vice president, 1990-92, president, 1992-96), Royal Astronomical Society, International Society of General Relativity and Gravitation (president, 1987-91), International Astronomical Union, Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications.
Herschel Medal, Royal Society of South Africa, 1978; Medal for Advancement of Science, SA Association, 1993; Honorary Degree, Haver-ford College, 1996; South African Mathematical Society Award, 1998; Honorary Degree, University of Natal, 1998; Star of South Africa Medal, Nelson Mandela, 1999; Achievement Award, Claude Harris Leon Foundation; Honorary Degree, London University.
(With Stephen W. Hawking) The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1973.
On Understanding the World and the Universe, University of Cape Town (Cape Town, South Africa), 1974.
The Squatter Problem in the Western Cape: Some Causes and Remedies, South African Institute of Race Relations, 1977.
Low-Income Housing Policy in South Africa: With Particular Reference to the Western Cape, University of Cape Town (Cape Town, South Africa), 1979.
The "Quality of Life" Concept: An Overall Framework for Assessment Schemes, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (Cape Town, South Africa), 1980.
(With D. Erlank) A Quality of Life and Basic Needs Measurement System with Application to Elsies River, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (Cape Town, South Africa), 1983.
(With Ruth M. Williams) Flat and Curved Space-Times, diagrams by Mauro Carfora, Clarendon Press (New York, NY), 1988.
(Editor, with Antonio Lanza and John Miller) The Renaissance of General Relativity and Cosmology: A Survey to Celebrate the Sixty-fifth Birthday of Dennis Sciama, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1993.
Before the Beginning: Cosmology Explained, Boyars/Bowerdean (New York, NY), 1993.
(With Nancey Murphy) On the Moral Nature of the Universe: Theology, Cosmology, and Ethics, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1996.
Dynamical Systems in Cosmology, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1997.
(With Peter Coles) Is the Universe Open or Closed?, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1997.
The Far Future Universe: Eschatology from a Cosmic Perspective, Templeton Foundation Press (Radnor, PA), 2002.
Also author of more than 250 scientific papers.
George F. R. Ellis is a well-known and well-respected cosmologist. He is also well-known for his involvement in the antiapartheid movement in South Africa.
In Before the Beginning: Cosmology Explained, Ellis provides an explanation of cosmology for those who know very little about the subject. He describes scientific and theological issues concerning the universe and how it works. Library Journal contributor Harold D. Shane noted, "Filling this book's subtitle is a tall order, but Ellis does it quite well."
Ellis wrote Is the Universe Open or Closed? with Peter Coles, who is also a cosmologist. The authors discuss and attempt to answer one main question: How much matter is in the universe and what is its density? Ellis and Coles discuss the different techniques in measuring the density of the universe. American Journal of Physics contributor Edward Harrison claimed, "A learned and informative work, lucidly written by two prominent cosmologists. Every scientist with a cosmological interest should read it."
Ellis edited The Far Future Universe: Eschatology from a Cosmic Perspective, a collection of eighteen essays about the future of our universe by contributors in the fields of theology, philosophy, and science. "This collection is stronger than most due to the quality of the individual pieces and the fairly well defined topic," commented a Publishers Weekly contributor.
With theologian Nancey Murphy, Ellis wrote On the Moral Nature of the Universe: Theology, Cosmology, and Ethics, which argues that the universe makes sense only within a framework ruled by a deity. Critics welcomed the book as an important and far-ranging work, despite flaws within its argument. John Jefferson Davis in America found its "pacifist social ethic … inadequate for situations that urgently require the restoration of a just social order," while also questioning the book's treatment of such matters as human free will. Despite these reservations, the critic observed that "the authors are to be commended for their bold and much needed attempt to construct a new worldview that can relate the concerns of religion and the natural and human sciences, with theology and ethics playing central integrative roles." Theological Studies reviewer Anthony Battaglia hailed On the Moral Nature of the Universe as a "work of startling reach," and Philip Hefner in the Christian Century described it as a "complex, comprehensive, highly technical and immensely creative" work. "Simply to rehearse the breadth and complexity of this book's argument boggles the mind," Hefner wrote. "Taking up this book is a real adventure. And there is no adventure more important than the one that this book has embarked upon."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, May 10, 1997, John Jefferson Davis, review of On the Moral Nature of the Universe: Theology, Cosmology, and Ethics, p. 25.
American Journal of Physics, July, 1998, Edward Harrison, review of Is the Universe Open or Closed?, pp. 647-648.
American Scientist, September, 1990, Vincent Moncrief, review of Flat and Curved Space-Times, pp. 464-465.
Choice, April, 1989, B. R. Parker, review of Flat and Curved Space-Times, p. 1365; May, 1994, A. Spero, review of Before the Beginning: Cosmology Explained.
Christian Century, December 3, 1997, Philip Hefner, review of On the Moral Nature of the Universe, p. 1135.
Contemporary Physics, November-December, 1998, David Wands, review of Is the Universe Open or Closed?, pp. 493-494.
Journal of Theological Studies, October, 1998, David A. Pailin, review of On the Moral Nature of the Universe, p. 917.
Library Journal, August, 1993, Harold D. Shane, review of Before the Beginning, p. 140.
Publishers Weekly, October 28, 2002, review of The Far-Future Universe: Eschatology from a Cosmic Perspective, p. 66.
Science Books & Films, September, 1989, R. Bowen Loftin, review of Flat and Curved Space-Times, p. 14.
Theological Studies, March, 1998, Anthony Battaglia, review of On the Moral Nature of the Universe, p. 163.
Cambridge University Press Web site,http://books.cambridge.org/ (January 22, 2003), review of Dynamical Systems in Cosmology; review of The Renaissance of General Relativity and Cosmology; review of Is the Universe Open or Closed?
CWI online,http://www.cwi.nl/ (January 22, 2003), Paul Blaga, review of The Renaissance of General Relativity and Cosmology.
John Templeton Foundation Web site,http://www.templeton.org/ (January 22, 2003), "George F. Rayner Ellis."
Lonergan Online,http://www.lonergan.on.ca/ (January 22, 2003), Paul Allen, review of On the Moral Nature of the Universe.
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Web site,http://www.rasca.ca/ (January 22, 2003), Hugh Couchman, review of Is the Universe Open or Closed?
Templeton Foundation Press Web site,http://www.templetonpress.org/ (January 22, 2003), review of The Far-Future Universe.*