The London Mathematical Society (LMS) would like to congratulate Sir Roger Penrose on his award of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics. The prize was divided, one half awarded to Roger Penrose 'for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity', the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez 'for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy'.
In his 1965 paper on gravitational collapse and space-time singularities Sir Roger showed that the formation of a black hole is not, as had been argued, an artefact of spherical symmetry, but may be regarded as a natural and to be expected consequence of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. His methods were highly original and a masterful demonstration of the power of modern differential geometry. Sir Roger touches on these ideas, among other things, in the LMS film Frames of Mind.
Sir Roger is currently Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He has had a long association with the LMS and received its highest honour, the De Morgan Medal, in 2004. His contributions to mathematics and physics have been astonishingly creative and wide-ranging, including for example his cosmic censorship hypothesis, twistor theory and Penrose tiling.
You can read more about Sir Roger’s life and work in the LMS Newsletter article here.