Andrea Ghez Is the Fourth Woman to Win the Nobel Prize in Physics

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics to three scholars, one of whom is a woman. Andrea Ghez of the University of California, Los Angeles will share one half of the prize with Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany.

The pair is sharing the prize for “discovering that an invisible and extremely heavy object governs the orbits of stars at the center of our galaxy. A supermassive black hole is the only currently known explanation.”

Using the world’s largest telescopes, Genzel and Ghez developed methods to see through the huge clouds of interstellar gas and dust to the center of the Milky Way. They refined new techniques to compensate for distortions caused by the Earth’s atmosphere. Their pioneering work has produced the most convincing evidence yet of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, according to the academy.

Andrea Ghez holds the Lauren B. Leichtman & Arthur E. Levine Chair in Astrophysics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Ghez, a 2008 MacArthur Fellow, is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She holds a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Professor Ghez is only the fourth woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physics.

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