Roger Penrose of Britain, Reinhard Genzel of Germany and Andrea Ghez of the US won the Nobel Physics Prize on Tuesday for their research into black holes, the Nobel jury said.
The physicists were selected “for their discoveries about one of the most exotic phenomena in the universe, the black hole,” the Nobel Committee said.
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
Penrose, 89, was honoured for showing “that the general theory of relativity leads to the formation of black holes”, while Genzel, 68, and Ghez, 55, were jointly awarded for discovering “that an invisible and extremely heavy object governs the orbits of stars at the centre of our galaxy,” the jury said.
Andrea Ghez is just the fourth woman to receive the physics prize since 1901 when the first Nobel prizes were handed out.
Penrose used mathematical modelling to prove back in 1965 that black holes can form, becoming an entity from which nothing, not even light, may escape.
Genzel and Ghez have led research since the early 1990s focusing on a region called Sagittarius A* at the centre of the Milky Way.
Using the world’s largest telescopes, they discovered an extremely heavy, invisible object — around 4 million times greater than the mass of our Sun — that pulls on surrounding stars, giving our galaxy its characteristic swirl.