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Nobel Prize winner is longtime user of Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea

  • COURTESY ELENA ZHUKOVA / UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
                                U.S. astronomer Andrea Ghez, of the University of California, Los Angeles, has been studying the Galactic Center — the central region of the Milky Way galaxy — at the Keck Observatory on Hawaii island since 1995.

    COURTESY ELENA ZHUKOVA / UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

    U.S. astronomer Andrea Ghez, of the University of California, Los Angeles, has been studying the Galactic Center — the central region of the Milky Way galaxy — at the Keck Observatory on Hawaii island since 1995.

  • COURTESY KECK OBSERVATORY
                                Andrea Ghez

    COURTESY KECK OBSERVATORY

    Andrea Ghez

One of the three winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 is a longtime user of the W.M. Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea.

U.S. astronomer Andrea Ghez, of the University of California, Los Angeles, has been studying the Galactic Center — the central region of the Milky Way galaxy — at the Keck Observatory on Hawaii island since 1995.

The observatory said in a news release today that Ghez has been doing research from the Keck Observatory for over two decades.

Ghez shared half of the Nobel Prize with Reinhard Genzel, who represents both UCLA and the Max Planck Institute in Germany, for discovering a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way in the 1990s.

Roger Penrose, of the University of Oxford, received the other half of the Nobel Prize for proving with mathematics in 1964 that the general theory of relativity predicted the formation of black holes.

Together the three helped show the existence of black holes, which are at the center of every galaxy.

Ghez is only the fourth woman to win the Nobel in physics, following Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963 and Donna Strickland in 2018, according to the New York Times.

“I’m so thrilled,” she said in an email to the Times.

The Nobel Assembly announced the prize today at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.

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