Andrea Ghez wins 2020 Nobel Prize in physics

Andrea Ghez, UCLA’s Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics, today was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics.

Ghez helped pioneer a powerful technology called adaptive optics, which corrects the distorting effects of the Earth’s atmosphere in real time and opened the center of our galaxy as a laboratory for exploring black holes and their fundamental role in the evolution of the universe.

In 1998, Ghez answered one of astronomy’s most important questions, helping to show that a supermassive black hole resides at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The question had been a subject of much debate among astronomers for more than a quarter of a century.

“Andrea is one of our most passionate and tenacious Keck users,” Keck Observatory director Hilton Lewis said, also in 2019. “Her latest groundbreaking research is the culmination of unwavering commitment over the past two decades to unlock the mysteries of the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.”

Ghez is the fourth woman to receive the physics prize, following Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963 and Donna Strickland in 2018. Ghez also encourages young students who love science to pursue their dreams and learn how to overcome obstacles. “Follow your passions,” she said, “and be persistent…. Find comfort with discomfort.”

-Excerpts from UCLA Newsroom article

To read the full UCLA Newsroom article, click here.

Other news coverage about Ghez can be found in the following articles:

Los Angeles Times

New York Times

NPR

The Washington Post

Wall Street Journal

NBC News

CNN

Associated Press

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