Roger Penrose is one of the recipients of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics. The British mathematical physicist was honoured for his discovery that black-hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.
In this interview with Physics World’s Tushna Commissariat, recorded in 2015, Penrose looks back to the early years of his career as a PhD student at the University of Cambridge. Penrose describes how he was inspired by courses given by eminent physicists including Paul Dirac and Hermann Bondi. But his career-long interest in black holes was triggered by attending a lecture by David Finkelstein on the nature of event horizons and the concept of a singularity.
Speaking at the “Celebrating 100 Years of General Relativity” event at Queen Mary University of London, Penrose also looks to the future of his field. He believes that in the long-standing quest to unify the theories of gravity and quantum mechanics, it is quantum theory that must be modified significantly beyond its current form. The (now) Nobel laureate refers to this process as the “gravitization of quantum mechanics”.