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.