In conversation with Sir Roger Penrose

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Tuesday 26 October

Theatre / Online

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Sir Roger Penrose

    Credit: LIMS


Theatre audience: £16/£10/£7 Members / Livestream audience: pay what you can

Event description

Sir Roger Penrose is a mathematical physicist with the eye of an artist and the soul of a philosopher. He won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the mathematical foundations of black holes. The tilings which bear his name can cover the plane in a never-repeating pattern. His work on the theory of mind suggests consciousness is a peculiarly human capability. He is a master word-smither, capable of rendering the most complex ideas clear, and his popular books have inspired a generation of physicists and laymen alike.

In this event, Sir Roger joins Thomas Fink and Yang-Hui He on stage for a conversation about the man behind the science. We take a rare look into the workings of this singular mind. How does he get his ideas? Is beauty a guide to truth? What’s the basis of free will? Is AI a threat? Can art inform science? And is man different from machine?

This event is organised by the London Institute for Mathematical Sciences in partnership with the Royal Institution.

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Event type

This is a theatre event, where the speaker and audience in our theatre are joined by an online audience.

Tickets to attend in person or to watch the livestream are both available from this page.

At the moment we are encouraging all of our guests and staff to continue wearing a face covering if they are able to, and to maintain a social distance wherever possible. However, the decision is now at your discretion.

Thank you for being respectful of individual choices and for being considerate of everyone’s comfort and safety.

About the speakers

Sir Roger Penrose Kt OM FRS is Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor at Oxford. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics and the Wolf Prize in Physics and was appointed to the Order of Merit. His work spans general relativity, black holes, cosmology, tiling theory and the theory of mind.

Thomas Fink is the founding Director of the London Institute and Charge de Recherche in the French CNRS. He studied physics at Caltech, Cambridge and École Normale Supérieure. His work includes statistical physics, combinatorics and the mathematics of evolvable systems.

Yang-Hui He is a Fellow at the London Institute, Professor at City University, Chang-Jiang Chair at NanKai University and Lecturer at Merton College, Oxford. He studied at Princeton, Cambridge and MIT and works at the interface of string theory, geometry and machine learning.



The live stream will go live at 6.55pm, and the introduction will begin at 7.00pm. If you register but miss the live stream, the video will be available to you via the same link for up to a week after the event date.

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