Sir Roger Penrose (born 8 August 1931) 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 several 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.
Born in Colchester, Essex, England, Roger Penrose is a son of psychiatrist and mathematician Lionel Penrose and Margaret Leathes, and the grandson of the physiologistJohn Beresford Leathes and his Russian wife, Sonia Marie Natanson. Penrose told a Russian audience that his grandmother had left St. Petersburg in the late 1880s. His uncle was artist Roland Penrose, whose son with photographer Lee Miller is Antony Penrose. Penrose is the brother of physicist Oliver Penrose and of chess GrandmasterJonathan Penrose. 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 in 1951. Having started research under the professor of geometry and astronomy, Sir W. V. D. Hodge, Penrose finished 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. He devised and popularised the Penrose trianglein the 1950s, describing it as "impossibility in its purest form" and exchanged material with the artist M. C. Escher, whose earlier depictions of impossible objects partly inspired it. Escher's Waterfall, and Ascending and Descending were in turn inspired by Penrose.