The Nobel Prize in Physics announced! 3 scientists who study black holes won awards, Hawking should have been named

The Nobel Prize, which aims to reward the best contributors in the fields of physics, chemistry or medicine, will be announced one by one during the National Day Golden Week.

As foreign countries are still affected by the epidemic, this year's Nobel Prize canceled the previous award ceremony held in the Swedish capital and switched to an online live broadcast.

But the amount of bonuses has increased-thanks to the good annual return on investment of the Nobel Foundation, this year, the bonus for each Nobel Prize has increased to 10 million Swedish kronor, an increase of 1 million compared to last year. It is equivalent to RMB 7.6 million.

▲ Picture from: NYT

The first group of people to receive the bonus has appeared, namely Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice. They are Discovered the hepatitis C virus and won this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

On the evening of October 6, the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics was officially announced. This award is related to black holes, part of which was won by Roger Penrose in recognition of his "discovering that the formation of black holes is a powerful prediction of general relativity."

The other half was obtained by Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez because they "discovered the existence of a super dense object in the center of the Milky Way."

Why are they winning?

British mathematical physicist Roger Penrose (Roger Penrose) was born in 1931 into a family of doctors in Essex, England. He has made a lot of contributions in physics, mathematics and geometry, but this time he The winning of the Nobel Prize in Physics is related to his thesis "Gravitational Collapse and Singularity of Time and Space" in 1965.

In 1916, Einstein published his famous general theory of relativity. He not only predicted the existence of gravitational waves, but also believed that certain massive stars would become black holes when they died. These distorted spaces would capture everything around them, even light. Can't escape.

However, Einstein himself did not believe in the existence of black holes. It was not until January 1965, 10 years after Einstein’s death, that Roger Penrose’s paper proved that black holes can indeed form, and they are also Einsteins. The inevitable result of Stein's general theory of relativity.

In his opinion, there is a singularity hidden in the center of the black hole, and in this singularity, the density and gravity will become infinite, and all known physical laws will be invalid.

The Nobel Prize Committee stated that the paper written by Roger Penrose at that time was the most important contribution to general relativity after Einstein.

It is worth noting that the famous singularity theory was put forward by Stephen Hawking and Penrose together. In other words, if Hawking is still alive, Penrose may not be the only one who won the Nobel Prize in Physics this year. .

The other half of the Nobel Prize in Physics was won by German astrophysicist Reinhard Genzel and American astronomer Andrea Goz. Goz is also the fourth in history and won the Nobel Prize. Female scientist of physics prize.

Simply put, what they did was to find the existence of a black hole and its impact.

Since the 1990s, the two have led a research team to study an area called "Sagittarius A*" in the center of the galaxy. They found that there is an invisible object in this area, the mass is 4 million times that of the sun, and has the strongest gravitational field in the Milky Way, and can even control the orbits of surrounding stars.

In order to better track the journey of stars, the two teams used huge telescopes in Chile and Hawaii for observation. However, it takes 16 years for stars to orbit the black hole, and the technology at the end of the 20th century is not enough to get accurate data.

It was not until 2018 that the two teams found a solution. They successfully captured the huge black hole that elongated the light emitted by the stars through the earth's atmosphere, as well as the cosmic dust and gas, and proved that there is indeed an overweight space in the center of the Milky Way.

David Haviland, Chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee in Physics, said: "This year's winners have opened up new fields in the study of dense and supermassive celestial bodies. However, these strange objects have also derived new We still need to find answers to the question of the future and promote future research.”

Since the establishment of the Nobel Prize in Physics, more than 200 physicists have won the honor.

In 2019, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to 3 people, namely James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz.

▲ Picture from: Nobel

But they are not involved in the same scientific research project. Among them, Peebles contributed to the theory of physical cosmology, and Meyer and Queiroz won awards for discovering the first exoplanet outside the solar system.

According to statistics, among all Nobel Prizes, the Physics Prize is also the most prized award among Chinese. Up to now, a total of 6 Chinese scientists have won this award, including Li Zhengdao, Yang Zhenning, Ding Zhaozhong, Zhu Diwen, Cui Qi and Gao Kun.

The Nobel Prize winners are getting older

As the most prestigious award in the scientific world, the Nobel Prize is often unknown to outsiders before it is officially announced. The nomination information is often decrypted after 50 years, and even the winners themselves are only at the moment after the results are announced. Will "be told".

It is precisely because of this high degree of confidentiality that predicting the annual Nobel Prize winner has become a very difficult task.

However, some people will still find some rules based on the past Nobel Prize selection results.

Shi Yu, a professor in the Department of Physics of Fudan University, believes that since this century, the Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded in the four fields of particle physics, atomic and molecular photophysics, condensed matter physics, and astrophysics. The number of awards in each field is basically the same.

However, this year, the Nobel Prize in Physics was once again awarded to the field of astrophysics, which was unexpected to some speculators.

▲ The achievements of the Nobel Prize in Physics since this century. Picture from: Shi Yu

In July 2020, John Ioannidis , a researcher at Stanford University in the United States, also combed the Nobel Prize winners from 1995 to 2017 and found that among the 114 existing scientific fields, more than half of the Nobel Prizes in science were awarded. It focuses on the five fields of particle physics, cell biology, atomic physics, neuroscience and molecular chemistry.

This result has also caused criticism for the Nobel Prize. Some people think that the selection of the Nobel Prize is too concentrated, but ignores the development in other visions and the contributions of some scientific researchers.

In addition, after entering the 21st century, due to the rapid development of technology and scientific research environment, as well as the increase in scientific research results of various countries, the selection of Nobel science awards has become more and more extensive. Many scientists will not make scientific breakthroughs. , Immediately win the prize.

▲ Statistics of the time interval between the publication of the results of the scientists and the Nobel Prize. Picture from: China Science News

According to the statistics of "China Science Daily" , it may take 10-30 years for the winners of the Nobel science awards from the publication of the results to the official award.

▲ Picture from: The Guardian

"The Guardian" data also shows that in 1931-1940, the average age of Nobel Prize winners in physics was only 41 years old, but in the past 10 years, the average age of winners has been close to 70 years old.

This means that many scientists may have to wait until their later years for their research results to be recognized by the industry.

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is a typical example. The three winners promoted the development and commercialization of lithium-ion battery technology in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. However, it was not until everyone entered the ancient age that they won the Nobel Prize. It can be said to be a " Late awards".

As for this year's Nobel physicist, the oldest three winners have reached 89 years old, and the youngest is 55 years old.

▲ Akira Yoshino, a Japanese scientist who won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for lithium batteries

It is indeed a pity that more scientists cannot even wait for the recognition of the Nobel Prize in their lifetime.

Because of this, many Nobel Prize winners believe that the biggest reason for their awards comes from "luck" and being able to persist to the age to receive the award.

Of course, there is often undeniable strength behind luck. What is certain is that every Nobel Prize winner is a person who is willing to take learning as an interest and is persistent in moving forward.

Source of title picture: Nobel

In the next few days, four other Nobel Prizes will be announced, namely the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize in Economics. We will continue to pay attention.

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