ATHEIST SCIENTISTS-14

SIR ROGER PENROSE

Sir Roger Penrose is an English mathematical physicist, mathematician and philosopher of science. He is the Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford, as well as an Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College.

Penrose is known for his work in mathematical physics, in particular for his contributions to general relativity and cosmology. He has received a number of prizes and awards, including the 1988 Wolf Prize for physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking for their contribution to our understanding of the universe.

Roger Penrose was born in Colchester, Essex, England on 8th  August 1931. Roger Penrose is a son of Lionel Penrose and Margaret Leathes. Penrose attended University College School and University College, London, where he graduated with a first class degree in mathematics.

In 1955, while still a student, Penrose reintroduced the E. H. Moore generalised matrix inverse, also known as the Moore–Penrose inverse,after it had been reinvented by Arne Bjerhammar (1951). Penrose earned his PhD at Cambridge (St John's College) in 1958, writing a thesis on "tensor methods in algebraic geometry"  under algebraist and geometer John A. Todd.

  In 1965, at Cambridge, Penrose proved that singularities (such as black holes) could be formed from the gravitational collapse of immense, dying stars.This work was extended by Hawking to prove the Penrose–Hawking singularity theorems.

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.

Penrose is well known for his 1974 discovery of Penrose tilings, which are formed from two tiles that can only tile the plane nonperiodically, and are the first tilings to exhibit fivefold rotational symmetry.  In 2004 Penrose released The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe,  a 1,099-page book aimed at giving a comprehensive guide to the laws of physics.

He has proposed a novel interpretation of quantum mechanics. Penrose is Distinguished (visiting) Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Pennsylvania State University.He is also a member of theAstronomical Review Editorial Board.

Penrose is married to Vanessa Thomas, head of mathematics at Abingdon School with whom he has one son.He has three sons from a previous marriage to American Joan Isabel Wedge, whom he married in 1959.

Religious views

Penrose does not hold to any religious doctrine, and refers to himself as an atheist. In the film A Brief History of Time,  he said, "I think I would say that the universe has a purpose, it's not somehow just there by chance … some people, I think, take the view that the universe is just there and it runs along – it's a bit like it just sort of computes, and we happen somehow by accident to find ourselves in this thing.

But I don't think that's a very fruitful or helpful way of looking at the universe, I think that there is something much deeper about it." Penrose is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.

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