Penrose, Sir Roger, 1931–, British mathematical physicist, Ph.D. Cambridge, 1958. He taught and conducted research at a number of British and American colleges and universities before becoming a professor at Birkbeck College, London (1966–1973), and Oxford (1973–1998, emeritus from 1998). Penrose used topological mathematics to demonstrate that if Einstein's theory of gravity as set forth in the general theory of relativity is correct then black holes must exist. Working Stephen Hawking, Penrose showed that the development of a singularity, in which density becomes infinite, would occur inevitably in the presence of enough collapsed and compacted matter. For his work, Penrose was awarded half of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics; the other half was jointly awarded to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for their discovery that a supermassive black hole lies at the center of the Milky Way.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Physics: Biographies