UCLA’s astrophysics professor Andrea Ghez just made an amazing discovery that won her the 2020 Noble Prize in physics. It’s absolutely amazing to see women exceeding expectations in their fields, and Andrea is no exception.
She humbly states that “[t]here are hurdles in life whoever you are, whether a woman or not”. But we all know that even though this may be true, women have so many more hurdles to jump over than men in this world. So her accomplishment is extraordinary and an inspiration to women of all professions.
What Did Ghez Discover?
Andrea Ghez and Reinhard Genzel from UC Berkley both discovered an enormous, supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy! Black holes are extremely interesting because, according to Ghez, it’s where what we know about the laws of physics start to break down.
Using the black hole, they tested out Einstein’s theory of relativity. And what they found is that he’s currently still correct in his theory. But that doesn’t mean that they’re done testing it. After all, the fact that they’ll just now discovered this huge black hole probably means that we’re soon going to know a lot more about physics.
To this date, nobody can explain how gravity works inside of a black hole because the are extremely dense and inescapable gravity-wise. Interestingly, Ghez also said that most galaxies have a huge black hole in the middle of them.
Uncovering the Universe’s Secrets
There is still so much we don’t know in terms of science and the nature of the universe. But empowered women like Ghez are making progress so that all of humanity can understand more about existence as a whole.
Of course, with the discovery of this huge black hole, we’re now left with so many more intriguing answers that perhaps empowered women like Ghez will continue to answer for generations to come.
Next, the Nobel Committee for Physics says they want to find out what it’s like inside a black hole and how they can test theories about gravity around them. So that’s definitely some interesting science to look out for in the future. (Ghez currently describes the dynamics of gravity around black holes as “extreme astrophysics”.
Moving Beyond Einstein
Einstein was a genius. But his theories certainly aren’t going to be the end-all-be-all in science. In fact, Ghez already recognizes several holes in his theories. So while they can’t completely disprove him or fill in the holes yet, they’re working on it.
In 2019, Ghez stated that “we will need to move […] to a more comprehensive theory of gravity that explains what a black hole is”. And with the discoveries that she’s making, maybe she’ll be the one who starts trailblazing the way to the real answers.
Intriguing Black Hole Features
Ghez and her research group recently noted that the supermassive black hole that they’ve been studying for 24 years has been binging on interstellar gas and dust at an unusual rate. And they’re not sure why.
They also found interesting objects around the black hole that act like stars but seem like gas, and they have no idea what these are either. There are so many mysteries happening at the centre of our galaxy that we’ve yet to find out.
It’s absolutely phenomenal that Andrea Ghez is following her passion for science and supplying us with so much food for thought about the nature of our universe. We absolutely cannot wait to see what her next discoveries will be!
If you’re interested in more empowered women making strides in space, check out Jeanette Epps: First Black Female American Astronaut in Space.