Sir Roger Penrose, OM FRS Nobel Prize in Physics 2020

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Sir Roger Penrose, OM FRS, Nobel Prize in Physics 2020

Birthplace: Colchester, Essex, UK
Immediate Family:

Son of Lionel Sharples Penrose and Margaret Penrose
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About Sir Roger Penrose, OM FRS Nobel Prize in Physics 2020

Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS (born 8 August 1931) is an English mathematical physicist, mathematician and philosopher of science. He is Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, an emeritus fellow of Wadham College, Oxford and an honorary fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. He received the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity”.

Penrose has made contributions to the mathematical physics of general relativity and cosmology. He has received several prizes and awards, including the 1988 Wolf Prize for physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking for the Penrose–Hawking singularity theorems, and the 2020 Nobel Prize for physics, which he shared with Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez.


Sir Roger, is a mathematical physicist, specialising in general relativity and cosmology. In 1988, he shared the Wolf Prize for Physics with Stephen Hawking,recognising their contribution to our understanding of the Universe. His Uncle was the Artist, Sir Roland Algernon Penrose, married to the war photographer, Lee Miller-- best known for the photo of her in Hitler's bath in Munich.

Born in Colchester, he went to Cambridge University and in the Sixties calculated many of the basic elements of black holes.

He wrote a book that put forward the theory that the Big Bang is an endlessly recurring event.

Awards and honours Penrose has been awarded many prizes for his contributions to science. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1972. In 1975, Stephen Hawking and Penrose were jointly awarded the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. In 1985, he was awarded the Royal Society Royal Medal. Along with Stephen Hawking, he was awarded the prestigious Wolf Foundation Prize for Physics in 1988. In 1989 he was awarded the Dirac Medal and Prize of the British Institute of Physics. In 1990 Penrose was awarded the Albert Einstein Medal for outstanding work related to the work of Albert Einstein by the Albert Einstein Society. In 1991, he was awarded the Naylor Prize of the London Mathematical Society. From 1992 to 1995 he served as President of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation. In 1994, Penrose was knighted for services to science.[36] In the same year he was also awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) by the University of Bath.[37] In 1998, he was elected Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences. In 2000 he was appointed to the Order of Merit. In 2004 he was awarded the De Morgan Medal for his wide and original contributions to mathematical physics. To quote the citation from the London Mathematical Society:

His deep work on General Relativity has been a major factor in our understanding of black holes. His development of Twistor Theory has produced a beautiful and productive approach to the classical equations of mathematical physics. His tilings of the plane underlie the newly discovered quasi-crystals.[38]

In 2005 Penrose was awarded an honorary doctorate by Warsaw University and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), and in 2006 by the University of York. In 2008 Penrose was awarded the Copley Medal. He is also a Distinguished Supporter of Humanists UK and one of the patrons of the Oxford University Scientific Society. In 2011, Penrose was awarded the Fonseca Prize by the University of Santiago de Compostela. In 2012, Penrose was awarded the Richard R. Ernst Medal by ETH Zürich for his contributions to science and strengthening the connection between science and society. In 2015 Penrose was awarded an honorary doctorate by CINVESTAV-IPN (Mexico).

In 2020, Penrose was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity, a half-share also going to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez

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Sir Roger Penrose, OM FRS Nobel Prize in Physics 2020's Timeline

August 8, 1931
Colchester, Essex, UK