LondonLife – Black holes pioneer, Sir Roger Penrose, awarded Freedom of the City of London…

Sir Roger Penrose at a conference in January, 2011. PICTURE: Biswarup Ganguly (licensed under CC BY 3.0)

World-renowned mathematical physicist Professor Sir Roger Penrose has received the Freedom of the City of London. Sir Roger, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics two years ago for his pioneering studies in the 1960s, was the first to prove mathematically that black holes exist. The now 90-year-old, who is currently Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College in Oxford, also jointly won the 1988 Wolf Prize in Physics with the late Stephen Hawking for their work on gravitational singularity theorems. Sir Roger said he was “hugely honoured” to be given the Freedom of the City. “London is a magnificent city in which I have spent many happy and productive years since my school and undergraduate days, and then with four separate academic appointments,” he said. Sir Roger, who is also known for discovering Penrose tiling in which a pair of rhombus-shaped tiles can be used to tile a flat service without the pattern ever repeating itself, was nominated for the Freedom by Lord Mayor of the City of London, Vincent Keaveny, and the City of London Corporation’s policy chairman, Chris Hayward. The tradition of the Freedom of the City of London is believed to have begun in 1237 and enabled recipients, who were also required to join a Livery Company, to carry out their trade.