The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Roger Penrose from Britain, Reinhard Genzel from Germany, and Andrea Ghez from the US for making discoveries that have shaped our modern understanding of the universe and black holes. Half the prize went to Penrose, “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity,” the committee said on its website. Using mathematical models, Penrose proved that black holes formed as possible, relying solely on Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
The other half of the prize was split between Genzel and Ghez, for discovering “that an invisible and hefty object governs the orbits of stars at the centre of our galaxy,” the note continued.
Genzel and Ghez looked at the dust-covered center of our Milky Way galaxy where something strange was going on, several stars moving around something they couldn’t see at the time – a supermassive black hole around 4 million times our sun’s mass.
This was a critical discovery that has led scientists to conclude that every galaxy is home to a supermassive black hole.
The Nobel Assembly announced the prize at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.
On Monday, three medical scientists – Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M Rice – were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for discovering the hepatitis C virus.
The Nobel Committee said the three scientists had “made possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives.”