What a great year for astronomers! Advancements in cosmology have piqued this year, despite all the lockdowns and craziness, but achievements have not gone unnoticed!
This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Roger Penrose (half the prize) for “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity”
And the other half jointly to Andrea Ghez and Reinhard Genzel for “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy”
Let’s Break That Down
Before Penrose‘s work, Black holes were thought of to be a product of Einstein’s general Theory of Relativity, but there was no sound evidence to suggest that. Even Einstein was extremely doubtful of their existence!
Penrose provided mathematical proof of black holes being a direct consequence of general relativity, and that, yes, they actually can occur in real life!
This proof was published in 1965, 10 years after Einstein’s death unfortunately. I do wonder what his reaction would be to Penrose’s ground-breaking work, I’m sure he would have been so proud!
Within the centre of our Milky Way lies Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole. Circling it are all the stars and planets in our galaxy. The stars closest whirl around the supermassive black hole at incredible speeds, but it was Andrea Ghez and Reinhard Genzel‘s work that showed that there was a supermassive black hole pulling all these objects.
Their research lead to refined new techniques for enhancing ground based observations, developing world class technology, and gave us the most convincing evidence of a supermassive black hole in our galaxy!
Awesome work astronomers! Keep it up!
Read more here!
There were three things that general relativity predicted which Einstein said couldn’t be real: black holes, gravitational waves, and time travel. Two of the three have since turned out to be real. Still waiting on the third.
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Technically, I think we’ve actually got evidence of time travel. Just not by humans, but particles only 😦 One day we’ll be manipulating physics like there’s no tomorrow!
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