CFPU Congratulates 2020 Physics Nobel Prize Winners

The CFPU congratulates Penrose, Ghez, and Genzel for winning the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics! The common thread between their work is the use of black holes to test the fundamental physics of gravity, both of which are topics explored by CFPU members.

Professor Roger Penrose’s contributions over decades focused on understanding the structure of space-time and singularities. His elegant mathematical work demonstrated that singularities and the event horizons around them (what we call black holes) were inescapable consequences of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Professors Ghez and Genzel spent over 20 years using the world’s largest telescopes in Chile and Hawaii to make the most precise positional measurements of stars near the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. These ultra-precise measurements utilizing advanced imaging techniques such as adaptive optics, have provided direct tests of the predictions of general relativity and allowed us to see first-hand the evolution of stellar orbits in highly curved space.

About the CFPU

The Center for the Fundamental Physics of the Universe (CFPU) at Brown brings together researchers engaged in experimental and theoretical work aimed at answering some of the major fundamental questions about the physics of the Universe.

The roster includes faculty from various sub-disciplines: four from Astrophysics and Cosmology Experimental work (Dell’Antonio, Gaitskell, Pober, Tucker), three pursuing Astrophysics and Cosmology Theory and Phenomenology (Alexander, Fan, Koushiappas) and four High Energy Experimentalists (Cutts, Heintz, Landsberg). We also work in conjunction with Faculty from Condensed Matter research and also Planetary Sciences.

One of our major goals is to identify and develop new cross-disciplinary techniques for future experimental searches to better understand dark matter and dark energy. We are encouraging full exploitation of the breadth and depth of the expertise at Brown to develop new experimental techniques, as well as new interpretations of the implications of current experimental data.

Read more about the center and its initiatives, and explore our research in addition to the research experiences of our graduate students.