Nobel Prize in Physics for discoveries about black holes

Andrea Ghez is the fourth woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics 1:04

(CNN) – The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for discoveries about black holes, with half going to Roger Penrose and the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez.

Göran K. Hansson, secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said at Tuesday’s ceremony in Stockholm that this year’s award was about “the darkest secrets in the universe.”

Penrose received the award “for the discovery that the formation of black holes is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.” Genzel and Ghez were honored “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy.”

Fourth woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics

Ghez, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, is only the fourth woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physics. In 2018, a woman won the award for the first time in 55 years.

“I think I feel more passionate about the teaching side of my job today than ever,” Ghez said after the announcement. “Because it is very important to convince the younger generation that their ability to question and their ability to think is crucial for the future of the world.”

“I am delighted to receive the award and I take very seriously the responsibility associated with being, as they said, the fourth woman to win the Nobel Prize. I look forward to inspiring other young women in the field, ”added Ghez.

Marie Curie, the only woman to be recognized twice by the Nobel committee, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911.

Penrose, a professor at the University of Oxford, worked with fellow physicist Stephen Hawking to merge Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory to suggest that space and time would begin with the Big Bang and end in black holes.

Genzel is director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

What’s next

This year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine was jointly awarded to the trio of Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M. Rice from the United States and the United Kingdom on Monday for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus, which led to the development of tests and treatments.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be announced on Wednesday, the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday, the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday and the Economic Sciences Prize next Monday.