Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez. They are joint winners of 2020’s Nobel Prize in physics for their work on black holes. Image via Nobel Media.
Earlier this month (October 6, 2020), the Nobel Prize in physics was announced for two groundbreaking discoveries in astrophysics, both centered on black holes. Half of 2020’s prize went to mathematician Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.” The other half went jointly to Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany and Andrea Ghez of University of California, Los Angeles, “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy.”
It was a great moment for black hole physics as well as for the astronomy and astrophysics field in general. And it’s a wonderful time to contemplate the fascinating history of black hole science.
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What are black holes?
Black holes are exotic objects in space. The classic scenario for black hole formation centers on a massive star that runs out ...