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14 June 2022

Nobel Prize winner delivers the Higgs Lecture 2022

The Faculty of Natural Mathematical & Engineering Sciences welcomed Nobel prize winner Professor Sir Roger Penrose to King's to deliver the first Higgs Lecture since the pandemic.

Professor Sir Roger Penrose
Professor Sir Roger Penrose delivering the Higgs Lecture

After a two-year hiatus in the Higgs Lecture series, Sir Roger returned to King's to deliver a talk entitled 'From KCL and black hole singularities to cyclic cosmology'. Sir Roger was employed as a research associate at KCL between 1961 and 1963. During this period, he made important progress understanding the global nature of space-time and developing techniques used later to understand the formation of black holes.

Sir Roger is a world-renowned mathematical physicist, mathematician and philosopher of science. He is Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford.

He has had an enormous influence on the development of general relativity and cosmology, and more widely within mathematics, physics and the philosophy of science. He shared the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity."

During the lecture he stated that he really believed he had proved was that singularity formation was inevitable and that it was harder to prove the existence of black holes. His historical comments about the history of this discovery, including events tied to King’s College London, were inspirational, and his exposition of more recent work on cosmology was thought provoking.

Delivered in December 2012, the inaugural Higgs Lecture was given by its name bearer, Professor Peter Higgs, who returned to King's after graduating in 1950 with a first-class honours degree in Physics, and who famously predicted the Higgs Boson particle. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013.