Nobel Prize in Physics for Reinhard Genzel

German astrophysicist receives the prize for research on black holes.

Physik-Nobelpreis für Reinhard Genzel

Stockholm (dpa) - Half of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Roger Penrose (UK) and the other half to Reinhard Genzel (Germany) and Andrea Ghez (USA) for their research on black holes. This was announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Tuesday. Reinhard Genzel is director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching near Munich.

Roger Penrose (born in 1931) is being awarded the prize for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity. Reinhard Genzel (born 1952) and Andrea Ghez (born 1965) are being awarded the prize for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.

Penrose invented ingenious mathematical methods to explore Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, according to the Nobel Committee. He has shown that this theory leads to the formation of black holes, these monsters in time and space that capture everything that comes close to them. Genzel and Ghez discovered that an invisible and extremely heavy object dominates the orbits of stars at the centre of our galaxy. A supermassive black hole is the only currently known explanation.