Remembering the Moment Black Holes Went Mainstream
Today, physicists take the existence of black holes for granted. But back in the mid-1960s, the jury was still out: Were black holes a real feature of our universe, or a figment of mathematicians’ imaginations? The debate changed with a historic collaboration between mathematician Roger Penrose and physicist Stephen Hawking. Forty-five years after the publication of their 1970 Royal Society paper, Roger Penrose remembers the discoveries that led him and Hawking to believe that black holes really do exist, and that our universe started with a space-time singularity.
Sir Roger Penrose is author of Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe (Princeton University Press, 2016). He is the Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford in Oxford, United Kingdom.