The 2020 Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded on Tuesday to Roger Penrose for black hole discovery, and Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for discovering “a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy.”
The award has in the past honored discoveries about the tiniest of particles and the vast mysteries of outer space.
Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, announced the recipients.
It is common for several scientists who worked in related fields to share the prize. Last year’s prize went to Canadian-born cosmologist James Peebles for theoretical work about the early moments after the Big Bang, and Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for discovering a planet outside our solar system.
The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (more than $1.1 million), courtesy of a bequest left 124 years ago by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel. The amount was increased recently to adjust for inflation.
On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize for physiology and medicine to Americans Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice and British-born scientist Michael Houghton for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus.
The other prizes are for outstanding work in the fields of chemistry, literature, peace and economics.