Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 goes to Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for discovering ‘the darkest secrets of the universe’

Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 winners Roger Penrose (L), Reinhard Genzel (C) and Andrea Ghez (R)Nobel Foundation
  • The Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 will be shared by three laureates for discovering ‘the darkest secrets of the universe’.
  • One half of the Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Roger Penrose for discovering that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.
  • The other half of the Nobel Prize in Physics this year will be shared by Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of the galaxy.
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The Nobel Prize in Physics this year will be split between three laureates. One half goes to Roger Penrose for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.

The other half will be shared by Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of the galaxy. This makes Ghez the fourth woman to will a Nobel Prize in Physics.

“This year’s prize is about the darkest secrets of the universe,” said Secretary General Göran K. Hansson at the press briefing.

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In addition to the award and the prestige that comes with it, the winners also get a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.18 million).

They were chosen by the Nobel Assembly, composed of 50 voting members, who will also announce awards for research in chemistry, literature, peace, and economics over the coming week.

Nobel Prize categoryAward Declaration Date
Physiology or MedicineOctober 5 (Announced)
PhysicsOctober 6 (Today)
ChemistryOctober 7
LiteratureOctober 8
Peace October 9
Economic SciencesOctober 12

Headquartered at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden's capital city, Stockholm, the Nobel Assembly recognises scientists for their notable contributions to their respective fields.
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“This is not just an adventure coming to its triumphant conclusion. It's a new one beginning as we grow ever close to the horizons of the black holes, nature may have new surprises in store,” said member of the Nobel Committee for Physics, Ulf Danielsson.

Notable past winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics
Last year, one half of the Nobel Prize in Physics went to James Peebles ‘for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology,’ and the other half was shared by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz ‘for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.

2019 winners of the Nobel Prize for PhysicsNobel Media

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The youngest person to ever win this award is Lawrence Bragg. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics at the age of 25 with his father, William Bragg, for creating the first-ever x-ray spectrometer back in 1915.

Sir William Henry Bragg (L) and his son William Lawrence Bagg (R)Nobel Foundation archives

More recently, in 2018, Arthur Ashkin is the oldest person to bag a Nobel Prize for Physics at the age of 96. He was awarded ‘for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems’ . Ashkin passed away last month, on September 21, at the age of 98.

Since the Nobel Prizes were set up in 1895, only three women have won the coveted award — Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963 and Donna Strickland in 2018. Marie Curie also won another Nobel Prize, however in the field of Chemistry, in 1911.
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The only person to win two Nobel Prizes is John Bardeen, both in physics. He first won in 1956 for inventing the transistor and again in 1972 for discovering the transistor effect.

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