Black holes are perhaps the most mysterious objects in nature. They warp space and time in extreme ways and contain a mathematical impossibility, a singularity – an infinitely hot and dense object within.
This morning the Nobel Committee announced that the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics will be awarded to three scientists – Sir Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez – who helped discover the answers to such profound questions. Andrea Ghez is only the fourth woman to win the Nobel Prize in physics.
Robert Penrose is a theoretical physicist who works on black holes. Sir Roger Penrose won half the prize for his seminal work in 1965 which proved, using a series of mathematical arguments, that under very general conditions, collapsing matter would trigger the formation of a black hole. The remaining half of the prize was shared between astronomers Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez, who each lead a team that discovered the presence of a supermassive black hole, 4 million times more massive than the Sun, at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.
Image courtesy Roger Penrose via Wikimedia, and Science Photo Library – MARK GARLICK / Getty Images