Black hole scientists win 2020 Nobel Prize

Three scientists won the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics Tuesday (October 6), for their work on black holes - one of the universe's most mysterious phenomena.

Among them was the fourth woman ever to win the award.

"The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has today decided to award the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics with one half to Roger Penrose, for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity. And the other half, jointly to Andrea Ghez and Reinhard Genzel for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy."

U.S. scientist Andrea Ghez, from the University of California, Los Angeles, shared her half of the $1.1 million prize with Germany's Reinhard Genzel, who works at Berkeley in the U.S..

They discovered that an invisible and extremely heavy object governs the orbits of stars at the center of our galaxy.

Ghez is the fourth woman to win the physics prize. The first was Marie Curie in 1903.

Genzel, meanwhile, was shocked by his win.

"It's a remarkable state. Initially I was completely flabbergasted, because I surely had not expected it."

The other half of the prize was won by Britain's Roger Penrose, a professor from the University of Oxford.

He was recognised for using mathematics to prove that black holes are a direct consequence of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.

Physics has dominated the spotlight at the Nobel awards in previous years.

Einstein himself won the Nobel prize for his discoveries about the make-up of the universe.

The award committee's David Haviland said findings made by this year's winners had 'broken new ground in the study of supermassive objects'.

Video Transcript

- Three scientists won the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics, Tuesday, for their work on black holes, one of the universe's most mysterious phenomena. Among them was the fourth woman ever to win the award.

GORAN HANSSON: The royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has today decided to award the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics with one half to Roger Penrose for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity. And the other half, jointly, to Andrea Ghez and Reinhard Genzel for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy.

- US scientist Andrea Ghez from the University of California Los Angeles shared her half of the $1.1 million prize with Germany's Reinhard Genzel, who works at Berkeley in the US. They discovered that an invisible and extremely heavy object governs the orbits of stars at the center of our galaxy. Ghez is the fourth woman to win the physics prize. The first was Marie Curie in 1983. Genzel, meanwhile, was shocked by his win.

REINHARD GENZEL: It's a remarkable state. I was-- initially, I was completely flabbergasted because I surely had not expected it.

- The other half of the prize was won by Britain's Roger Penrose, a professor from the University of Oxford. He was recognized for using mathematics to prove that black holes are a direct consequence of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.

Physics has dominated the spotlight at the Nobel awards in previous years. Einstein himself won the Nobel Prize for his discoveries about the makeup of the universe. The award committee's David Haviland said findings made by this year's winners had broken new ground in the study of supermassive objects.