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Nobel Prize in Physics

Nobel Prize in Physics

Context:

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences decided to award one half of the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics to Roger Penrose and the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for furthering the understanding of black holes.

Black Holes:

  • A black hole is formed when stars collapse and can be defined as a space in the universe with an escape velocity so strong that even light cannot escape it.
    • The escape velocity is the speed at which an object must travel to override a planet or an object’s gravitational force.
  • Since light cannot get out, black holes are invisible and can only be tracked with the help of a space telescope or other special tools.
  • The reason light cannot escape is mainly that the gravity inside a black hole is very strong as a result of a lot of matter being squeezed into a small space.

Observations on Black Holes:

  • Penrose has been awarded the prize for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.
  • Penrose’s work has shown that black holes are a direct consequence of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
  • Penrose used Einstein’s general theory of relativity in order to prove that the process of formation of black holes is a stable one.
  • Genzel and Ghez have been awarded the prize for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.
  • Genzel and Ghez, on the other hand, have discovered that an invisible and an extremely heavy object govern the stars’ orbit at the centre of the Milky Way.
  • The work of Genzel and Ghez tells us that at the centre of our galaxy the Milky Way lies an invisible supermassive object, of which a black hole provides a reasonable explanation.

Nobel Prize:

  • Alfred Nobel in his last will and testament in 1895, gave the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/Medicine, Literature, and Peace, to be called the “Nobel Prizes”.
  • In 1968, the sixth award, the Prize in Economic Sciences was started.

The nomination of candidates:

  • The Nobel Committees invite thousands of members of academies, university professors, scientists, previous Nobel Laureates, and members of parliamentary assemblies among others to submit candidates for the Nobel Prizes for the coming year.
  • The nominators are selected in such a way that as many countries and universities as possible are represented over time.
  • One cannot nominate himself/herself for a Nobel Prize.

 The institutions that choose winners:

  • Nobel Prize in Physics, Nobel Prize in Chemistry: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: The Karolinska Institutet
  • Nobel Prize in Literature: The Swedish Academy
  • Nobel Peace Prize: A five-member Committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament (Storting)
  • Prize in Economic Sciences: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

 Source: Indian Express