Among Nobel Winners: Guy Who Proved Einstein Wrong

Physics honor will be split between 3 scientists for their work on black holes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 6, 2020 6:11 AM CDT
Behind This Year's Physics Nobel: 'Extremely Heavy Object'
In this April 17, 2015, file photo, a gold Nobel Prize medal is seen in Bogota, Colombia.   (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)

Three physicists have won this year’s Nobel Prize in physics for black hole discoveries and will split the $1.1 million award. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Tuesday that Briton Roger Penrose will receive half of this year's prize "for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity," per the AP. Goran K. Hansson, the academy’s secretary general, said German Reinhard Genzel and American Andrea Ghez will receive the second half of the prize, with a release detailing that it's being bestowed for their discovery of "an invisible and extremely heavy object [that] governs the orbits of stars at the center of our galaxy." The only thing that object could be, based on what we know now: "a supermassive black hole."

Physics icon Albert Einstein himself didn't believe in black holes, but in early 1965, about a decade after Einstein died, Penrose proved him wrong—and that "at their heart, black holes hide a singularity in which all the known laws of nature cease." Meanwhile, Ghez and Genzel each lead a group of scientists that, for 30 or so years, have focused on a region in the center of our galaxy called Sagittarius A*. Using large telescopes, the two groups discovered that there's a massive object "[pulling] on the jumble of stars" around it, "causing them to rush around at dizzying speeds." Set to be announced Wednesday: the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

(More Nobel Prize in Physics stories.)

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