Groundbreaking black hole research takes 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Three astrophysicists' groundbreaking work with black holes have taken the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Scientists Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez will split the roughly $1.1 million prize, with Penrose awarded half and Genzel and Ghez splitting the other half, The New York Times reported.

Penrose, an Oxford University mathematician, proved successfully that black holes must exist if Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity, known as general relativity, is correct. Meanwhile, Genzel and Ghez were honored for their decades-long investigation of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way that proved it is, in fact, a supermassive black hole, the Times reported.

The Nobel Assembly announced the prize at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Tuesday.

“Penrose, Genzel and Ghez together showed us that black holes are awe-inspiring, mathematically sublime, and actually exist,” Tom McLeish, professor of natural philosophy at the University of York, told the Science Media Centre in London, CNN reported.

Göran K. Hansson, secretary for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, heralded the work of the 2020 honorees for shedding light on the “darkest secrets of the universe.”

According to the Times, Ghez is only the fourth woman to win the coveted award, following Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963 and Donna Strickland in 2018.

Read more here and here.

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