• The Nobel Prize in Physics for the year 2020 was awarded to three astrophysicists Roger Penrose from the UK, Reinhard Genzel from Germany, and Andrea Ghez from the USA. 


  • Roger Penrose received half of this year’s prize for the discovery that a black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity. 
    • Black holes were one of the first and most extreme predictions of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity which came in 1915. 
    • The theory explains gravity, as objects try to follow a straight line through a universe whose geometry is warped by matter and energy. As a result, planets, as well as light beams, follow curving paths. 
    • Dr Penrose proved that if too much mass accumulated in too small a place, collapse into a black hole was inevitable. At the boundary of a black hole, called the event horizon, one would have to go faster than the speed of light to escape it, which is impossible. At the centre of a black hole, where the density became infinite, the laws of physics, would no longer apply. 
  • Genzel and Ghez received the second half of the prize for the discovery of a supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milkyway galaxy, now known to be the Sagittarius A*. 
    • It has a mass four million times that of the Sun and is confined to an area roughly the size of our Solar System. 
    • In 2019, scientists got the first optical image of a black hole which is at the centre of the Messier 87 galaxy. 
    • Sagittarius A* is the second black hole whose photographs have been captured by the Event Horizon Telescope project. It is yet to be released. 
  • Dr. Ghez is only the fourth woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics, following Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963 and Donna Strickland in 2018 

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