Three scientists have been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for work to understand black holes.
Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez were announced as this year’s winners at a news conference in Stockholm.
Swedish industrialist and chemist Alfred Nobel founded the prizes in his will, written in 1895 – a year before his death.
David Haviland, chair of the physics prize committee, said this year’s award “celebrates one of the most exotic objects in the Universe”.
Black holes are regions of space where gravity is so strong that not even light can escape from them.
UK-born physicist Roger Penrose demonstrated that black holes were an inevitable consequence of Albert’s Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
According to Ulf Danielsson, a member of the Nobel Committee, Penrose “laid the theoretical foundations to say: these objects exist. You can expect to find them if you go out and look for them”.
Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez provided the most convincing evidence yet of a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy – the Milky Way.
They found that this huge object, known as Sagittarius A*, was tugging on the jumble of stars orbiting it.
American Prof Ghez, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), said: “I’m thrilled to receive the prize and I take very seriously the responsibility of being the fourth woman to win the Nobel prize [in physics].”
2019 – James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz shared the prize for ground-breaking discoveries about the Universe.
2018 – Donna Strickland, Arthur Ashkin and Gerard Mourou were awarded the prize for their discoveries in the field of laser physics.
2017 – Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish earned the award for the detection of gravitational waves.
2016 – David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz shared the award for their work on rare phases of matter.
2015 – Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald were awarded the prize the discovery that neutrinos switch between different “flavours”.
2014 – Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura won the physics Nobel for developing the first blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
2013 – Francois Englert and Peter Higgs shared the spoils for formulating the theory of the Higgs boson particle.
2012 – Serge Haroche and David J Wineland were awarded the prize for their work with light and matter.
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Nobel Prize in Physics, Reinhard Genzel, Andrea M. Ghez, Black hole, Roger Penrose, Physics
World news – CA – Black hole breakthroughs win Nobel physics prize