“This year's award is about the darkest secrets in the universe,” said the Swedish Academy
October 6, 2020 Share on FacebookShare Share on TwitterTweet Share on WhatsAppShare
The Swedish Academy awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on Thursday to the British Roger Penrose , the German Reinhard Genzel and the American Andrea Ghez for their research on black holes.
Penrose was distinguished for discovering that the formation of a black hole is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity. The Oxford University professor “invented ingenious mathematical methods to explore Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity and showed that the theory leads to the formation of black holes, those monsters that capture everything that enters them.”
For their part, Genzel and Ghez were awarded for the discovery of a supermassive and compact object in the center of our galaxy. Each of them led a group of astronomers who have been investigating a region called Sagittarius A * since the 1990s. His pioneering work provided the strongest evidence to date for a black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
Ghez is only the fourth woman to win the Physics award, after 109 years of history and more than 200 winners . Before her, he was welcomed by Canadian Donna Strickland in 2018; Maria Goeppert-Mayer, in 1963; and the legendary Marie Curie, in 1903. “I hope I can inspire other women to enter the field (of physics). There is a lot to do, ”he declared on the teleconference after the announcement.
The Secretary General of the Academy explained that there was a delay in the announcement because the winners had not been contacted.
“The discoveries of this year's laureates have broken new ground in the study of compact and supermassive objects . But these exotic objects still raise many questions that beg for answers and motivate future research. Not only questions about its internal structure, but also questions about how to test our theory of gravity under extreme conditions in the immediate vicinity of a black hole, “says David Haviland, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics.
Ulf Danielsson, member of the Swedish Academy, explains the announcements (Reuters)
Supermassive black holes are an enigma of astrophysics, especially because of the way they get so large, and their formation focuses much research. Scientists think that they devour, at unprecedented speed, all the gases emitted by the very dense galaxies that surround them. As they are invisible, they can only be observed by contrast, seeing what phenomena they generate around them. A first revolutionary image was revealed to the world in April 2019.
In 2019, the Nobel Prize in Physics went to three cosmologists, the Canadian-American James Peebles, who followed in Einstein's footsteps to clarify the origins of the universe, and the Swiss Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, who revealed the existence of a planet outside the world. Solar system.
The Nobel laureates are announced this week as planned, but the new coronavirus has caused the cancellation of the award ceremony on December 10 in Stockholm. The winners, who are distributed around one million euros for each discipline, will receive the award in their country of residence.
On Monday, the Doctor of Medicine confirmed the superiority of the Americans in the list of scientific disciplines by falling to Harvey Alter and Charles Rice, along with the British Michael Houghton, for their role in the discovery of the virus that causes hepatitis C.
It will be followed on Wednesday by Chemistry . The Swedish Academy will announce on Thursday the Prize for Literature , the most anticipated along with the Peace Prize , which will be announced on Friday in Oslo.
The only reward not foreseen in the Swedish inventor's testament, the economics prize “in memory of Alfred Nobel”, created in 1968, will close the season next Monday.
(With information from AFP)