The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Roger Penrose for “the discovery that the formation of black holes is a strict consequence of general relativity,” and to Reinhard Gentzel and Andrea Gaz for “the discovery of a supermassive compact object in the center of the galaxy.” According to the Nobel Committee, these discoveries paved the way for the study of compact and supermassive objects in the universe. Live broadcast of the announcement of the winners was conducted on the Nobel Committee’s YouTube channel. More information about the merits of scientists can be discover from the press release of the Nobel Committee.
Half of the prize this year will go to Penrose, who invented original mathematical methods for studying general relativity by Albert Einstein. He showed that the formation of black holes occurs exactly as follows from the general theory of relativity.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 2020 #NobelPrize in Physics with one half to Roger Penrose and the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez. pic.twitter.com/MipWwFtMjz
– The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 6, 2020
In January 1965, ten years after Einstein’s death, Roger Penrose proved that black holes could indeed form and described them in detail. Inside, black holes hide a singularity where the physical laws known to mankind do not work. His groundbreaking paper is still considered the most important contribution to general relativity since Einstein.
The second half will be divided equally between Gentzel and Gaz. Using the world’s largest telescopes, Hansel and Geuze have developed methods to “see” the center of the Milky Way through huge clouds of interstellar gas and dust. Their groundbreaking work has provided the most compelling evidence for the existence of Sagittarius A *, a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
In 2019, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to James Peebles for “theoretical discoveries in cosmology” and Michelle Mayor and Didier Kelo for “the discovery of an exoplanet in orbit around a sun-like star.”
In 2018, the Physics Prize was awarded to Arthur Eshkin (½ prize), Gerard Moore (¼ prize) and Donna Strickland (¼ prize) for “innovative inventions in the field of laser physics”.
In 2017, Reiner Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne became Nobel Prize winners in physics, who made a huge contribution to the LIGO detector, which in 2015 for the first time recorded gravitational waves from the merger of two black holes, the existence of which Albert Einstein predicted about a hundred years ago in the framework General relativity.
- Nobel week on Monday, October 5, was traditionally opened by the announcement of the laureates of the prize in medicine and physiology. The award went to Harvey Olter, Michael Houghton and Charles Rice for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus.
- On October 7, the names of the Nobel Prize laureates in chemistry will be announced, on October 8 – in literature, the Peace Prize laureate will be named in Oslo on October 9, and the Nobel Week will end on October 12 with the Alfred Nobel Prize in Economics established by the Bank of Sweden.
- The size of the Nobel Prize in 2020 is 10 million kroons (about 1.1 million dollars at current exchange rates).
- The award ceremony was traditionally held on December 10 on the day of Alfred Nobel’s death, but in 2020 it will not take place due to the pandemic.