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Fellows Directory

Roger Penrose

Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS


Elected: 1972


Roger Penrose has conducted outstanding research in pure mathematics and theoretical physics. He is popularly known for his work on singularities, such as black holes, which he proved can arise from the gravitational collapse of massive, dying stars. He has also made important contributions that explore possible connections between physics and consciousness, and set these out in best-selling books such as The Emperor's New Mind (1989).

Roger invented twistor theory, a key tool in quantum theory. He proposed the cosmic censorship hypothesis — an idea of how the effects of the unpredictability of singularities are ‘hidden’ from us. His mathematical discoveries include a non-periodic form of tiling — Penrose tiling — since observed experimentally in quasicrystals.

Roger’s numerous awards include the Eddington Medal, the Royal Medal, the Dirac Medal, the Albert Einstein Medal , and the de Morgan Medal. He is a past President of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation. Roger was knighted in 1994, and appointed to the Order of Merit in 2000.


  • Copley Medal

    For his beautiful and original insights into many areas of mathematics and mathematical physics. Sir Roger has made outstanding contributions to general relativity theory and cosmology, most notably for his work on black holes and the Big Bang.

  • Royal Medals

    For his fundamental contributions to the theory of gravitational collapse and to other geometric aspects of theoretical physics.

  • Wolf Prize

    In the field of physics for their brilliant development of the theory of general relativity, in which they have shown the necessity for cosmological singularities and have elucidated the physics of black holes. In this work they have greatly enlarged our understanding of the origin and possible fate of the Universe.