Genzel, Reinhard

Genzel, Reinhard, 1952–, German astrophysicist, Ph.D. Univ. of Bonn, 1978. He was on the faculty at the Univ. of California, Berkeley, from 1980 to 1986, when he left to become director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Munich. Genzel was the joint recipient with Andrea Ghez of half of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way; Sir Roger Penrose, who showed mathematically how black holes could and would form, received the other half of the prize. Working independently, Genzel and Ghez used advanced astronomical imaging techniques, including speckle imaging and adaptive optics, to determine that whatever is at the center of our galaxy must have a mass equal to four million suns in order to exert enough gravitational pull to control the stars and gas in its orbit.

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