Person: Penrose, Roger
Roger Penrose is a British mathematician who published both on pure mathematics and cosmology. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2020.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- He was in Colchester carrying out this work at the time Roger was born.
- Roger, however, was set on research in mathematics and on entering St John's College he began research in algebraic geometry supervised by Hodge.
- Penrose was awarded his Ph.D. for his work in algebra and geometry from the University of Cambridge in 1957 but by this time he had already become interested in physics.
- Penrose spent the academic year 1956-57 as an Assistant Lecturer in Pure Mathematics at Bedford College, London and was then appointed as a Research Fellow at St John's College, Cambridge.
- Before the fellowship ended Penrose had been awarded a NATO Research Fellowship which enabled him to spend the years 1959-61 in the United States, first at Princeton and then at Syracuse University.
- Back in England, Penrose spent the following two years 1961-63 as a Research associate at King's College, London before returning to the United States to spend the year 1963-64 as a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
- In 1964 Penrose was appointed as a Reader at Birkbeck College, London and two years later he was promoted to Professor of Applied Mathematics there.
- Beginning in 1959, Penrose published a series of important papers on cosmology.
- As well as important papers on cosmology, Penrose continues to publish papers on pure mathematics.
- In 1965, using topological methods, Penrose proved an important theorem which, under conditions which he called the existence of a trapped surface, proved that a singularity must occur in a gravitational collapse.
- Penrose looked for a unified theory combining relativity and quantum theory since quantum effects become dominant at the singularity.
- One of Penrose's major breakthroughs was his introduction of twistor theory in an attempt to unite relativity and quantum theory.
- Together with Wolfgang Rindler, Penrose published this first volume of Spinors and space-time in 1984.
- It is for a number of outstanding popular books that Penrose is perhaps best known.
- In 1994 Penrose published Shadows of the mind : A search for the missing science of consciousness which continues to develop the topic of The emperor's new mind.
- In 1996 Penrose and Hawking published The nature of space and time.
- There is one further aspect of Penrose's work which we must mention.
- Further work over many years led to Penrose discovering that he could find non-periodic tilings with only six tiles, then finally he achieved the seemingly impossible with finding non-periodic tilings with only two tiles.
- The tiling of any finite region will eventually appear in every Penrose tiling.
- In addition to Penrose's main appointments which we have mentioned above, he also held a number of visiting and part-time posts.
- Penrose has received many honours for his contributions.
- The Royal Society awarded Penrose their Copley Medal in 2005.
- Sir Roger, Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, has made outstanding contributions to general relativity theory and cosmology, most notably for his work on black holes and the Big Bang.
- Even his recreations have had intellectual impact: for instance the 'impossible figures' popularised in Escher's artwork, and the never-repeating patterns of 'Penrose tiling'.
- Several universities have awarded Penrose an honorary degree including New Brunswick University (1992), the University of Surrey (1993), the University of Bath (1994), the University of London (1995), the University of Glasgow (1996), Essex University (1996), the University of St Andrews (1997), Santiniketon University (1998), Warsaw University (2005), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (2005) and the University of York (2006).
Born 8 August 1931, Colchester, Essex, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin England, Physics
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive