Roger Penrose of Britain, Reinhard Genzel of Germany and Andrea Ghez of the United States won the 2020 Nobel Physics Prize for their research into black holes.
According to the official press statement, the Prize was divided, one half awarded to Roger Penrose “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity”, the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.”
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 2020 #NobelPrize in Physics with one half to Roger Penrose and the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez. pic.twitter.com/MipWwFtMjz
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 6, 2020
Born in 1931, Roger Penrose is associated with the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. While Reinhard Genzel is associated with University of California, Berkeley, in the USA, and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany, Ghez is associated with University of California, Los Angeles.
By using mathematical modelling, Penrose conclusively proved that black holes – a space in the universe with an escape velocity so strong that even light cannot escape it – exist and described them in detail. Genzel and Ghez used the world’s largest telescopes to examine through massive clouds of interstellar gas to the center of the Milky Way, giving the most convincing evidence yet of a supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.
“The discoveries of this year’s Laureates have broken new ground in the study of compact and supermassive objects. But these exotic objects still pose many questions that beg for answers and motivate future research. Not only questions about their inner structure, but also questions about how to test our theory of gravity under the extreme conditions in the immediate vicinity of a black hole”, says David Haviland, chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics.
In receiving the prestigious award, Andrea Ghez has become the only fourth woman ever to win the Nobel Prize in Physics.
“I hope I can inspire other young women into the field,” Ghez told a press conference after the award was announced.