Nobel Prize winning scientist to reveal the darkest secrets of the Universe

Picture of a black hole

Professor Genzel won the Nobel Prize for ground-breaking research into black holes.

  • 19 February 2021
  • 2 min read

The University of Portsmouth is honoured to host a special guest colloquium by 2020 Physics Nobel Laureate, Professor Reinhard Genzel on Thursday 4 March.

Professor Genzel, from the Max-Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics in Germany, won the Nobel Prize, along with Roger Penrose and Andrea Ghez, for ground-breaking research into black holes.

During his talk, Professor Genzel will discuss the 40-year journey he and his colleagues undertook to study the supermassive Black Hole in the Centre of our Milky Way from ever more precise, long-term studies of the motions of gas and stars as test particles of the space-time. These studies, which showed the existence of a four million solar mass object that must be a single massive black hole, helped to reveal “the darkest secrets of the universe”. Following his talk, there will be an opportunity to ask Professor Genzel questions.

This event is a great opportunity for our young researchers and those interested in the mysteries of our Universe to hear from one of the world’s most distinguished scientific minds.

Claudia Maraston, Professor of Astrophysics

Claudia Maraston, Professor of Astrophysics has organised the colloquium. She said: “I am extremely honoured to be hosting this event with Professor Genzel.

“I first met Professor Reinhard Genzel, back in 2001, when I was a Research Fellow at the Max-Planck Institute. What immediately impressed me was his full engagement in science, his vivid mind and his never satisfied curiosity towards new phenomena and questions. Reinhard would attend talks from young fellows devoting them full attention and would be eager to spend time discussing with young and less young scientists.

“This event is a great opportunity for our young researchers and those interested in the mysteries of our Universe to hear from one of the world’s most distinguished scientific minds.”

I have been following this project with admiration for more than 20 years now. This measurement provides us with an opportunity very rare in astronomy. We watch objects move in real time - albeit over a time span of two decades – and what an exciting sight it is to witness stars swirl around a massive black hole in the centre of our Galaxy.

Professor Daniel Thomas, Head of the School of Mathematics and Physics

Professor Daniel Thomas, Head of the School of Mathematics and Physics, said: "I have been following this project with admiration for more than 20 years now. This measurement provides us with an opportunity very rare in astronomy. We watch objects move in real time - albeit over a time span of two decades – and what an exciting sight it is to witness stars swirl around a massive black hole in the centre of our Galaxy.”

The one-hour lecture is hosted by the School of Mathematics and Physics in the Faculty of Technology and starts at 2.30pm. It will be followed by a 30-minute question and answer session.

The lecture is free and places can be booked on Eventbrite.

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