Professor Reinhard Genzel wins Nobel Prize

5 Oct 2020

LMU Honorary Professor shares this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics for his discoveries in relation to the physics of black holes.


Astrophysicist Reinhard Genzel is one of this year’s three Nobel Laureates in Physics. He receives the award together with Andrea Ghez of the University of California in Los Angeles. The other half of the Prize goes to Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford. All three are honored for their contributions to the understanding of black holes.

Genzel (b.1952) is a Director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, where he leads the Department of Infrared and Submillimeter Astronomy. He also holds a professorship at the University of California in Berkeley. In 1988 he was appointed as an Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Physics at LMU, and has collaborated with his colleagues there on many scientific projects, including the development of novel instrumentation for large-scale telescopes.

“We heartily congratulate Professor Reinhard Genzel on the award of the highest distinction that science has to offer. The Prize honors the work of an outstanding scientist, whose ground-breaking contributions to astrophysics have already become indispensable in his field,” said LMU President Professor Bernd Huber.

According to the citation included in the announcement by the Swedish Academy of Sciences, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez independently discovered “a supermassive compact object in the center of our galaxy’ (the Milky Way), and went to measure its properties with unprecedented precision using extremely complex methods. “Their pioneering work has given us the most convincing evidence yet for the existence of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.” Roger Penrose receives the Prize for his mathematical proof “that black holes are a direct consequence of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity”.

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