The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 to three scientists for their groundbreaking work on black holes. Mathematician Roger Penrose will split the prize with the astrophysicists Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez. Penrose solidified the mathematical understanding of black holes—proving Einstein was, in fact, correct—while Genzel and Ghez are credited with discovering Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
A trio of scientists received the call of a lifetime this morning. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics to three researchers for their work unraveling the mystery and majesty of one of the universe’s strangest phenomena.
“This year’s prize celebrates the discovery of one of the most exotic objects in our universe: the black hole,” David Haviland, the chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics, said during a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden.
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Black holes are impossibly massive cosmic objects whose gravitational pull is so strong, not even light can escape their grip. Stars that orbit too close are drawn into a black hole, which is surrounded by a glittering expanse called the event horizon.
Our understanding of these mysterious objects has sharpened in recent decades; the first image of a black hole was taken in April 2019, for example. (The Event Horizon Telescope astronomy network, which snapped the pictures, is also on the short list for a Nobel prize.)
The Black Hole Picture Changed Science
Roger Penrose, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford, will share the $1.1 million prize with astrophysicist Reinhard Genzel of UC Berkeley and Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics,
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