Professor Sir Roger Penrose is a decorated mathematical physicist and philosopher of science. Best known for his work on general relativity, Roger shared the Wolf Prize for Physics with long-time friend and collaborator, Stephen Hawking, for their work on singularities (such as black holes) that he proved can arise from the gravitational collapse of massive, dying stars. Roger's innovative twistor theory, a key tool in quantum theory, provides a pathway to a theory of quantum gravity. The most well-known of his mathematical discoveries is Penrose tiling, a form of tiling which is non-periodic and so has no translational symmetry, which has subsequently been observed experimentally in quasicrystal structures.
Roger’s numerous awards in physics and mathematics include the Eddington Medal, the Royal Medal, the Copley medal, and the de Morgan Medal. Roger was elected to the Royal Society in 1972, knighted in 1994, and appointed to the Order of Merit in 2000. He has also written a number of popular books include The Road to Reality, The Emperor’s New Mind, and, most recently, Fashion, Faith and Fantasy in the Physics of the New Universe.
Roger’s mother, Margaret Leathes, attended Bedales from Autumn 1913 - Summer 1919, and was head girl. Margaret’s father, John Beresford, was a physiologist and biochemist who was elected FRS in 1911. Margaret married Roger’s father, Lionel, in 1928, himself an FRS (elected 1952) for his work in hereditary mental illness.
Peter Eckersley wrote in 1943 that Bedales “gave one the opportunity to dream dreams and the stimulus to want to make the dreams come true.” This lecture, in his name, allows new generations to realise the same.