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by Daniel Paulling

October 6, 2020

Ghez is the fourth woman to receive the Nobel Prize in physics

UCLA Bruin Masters member Andrea Ghez received a Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday.

She joined Reinhard Genzel and Roger Penrose in receiving the prestigious award for their discoveries about black holes. Penrose was honored for his discovery that Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicts black hole formation, and Ghez and Reinhard were honored for discovering a black hole at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way.                                                                       

“I heard the news with a phone call at 2 in the morning, so I was fast asleep,” Ghez said in an interview conducted with The Nobel Prize’s Adam Smith. “And I think for the first few minutes I thought I was dreaming. I still can’t quite believe it.”

Ghez is the fourth woman to receive the Nobel Prize in physics, joining Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963, and Donna Strickland in 2018.

Joining that group heartens Ghez.

“To me, it’s always been very important to encourage young women into the sciences, so to me, it means an opportunity and a responsibility to encouraging the next generation of scientists who are passionate about this kind of work into the field,” she told Smith. “… [S]eeing people who look like you, or people who are different, succeeding shows you that there’s an opportunity there, that you can do it, that this is a field that is open to you. So I think that visibility is so important.”


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