Sigma Xi Member Andrea Ghez Receives Nobel Prize in Physics

October 06, 2020

Sigma Xi member Andrea Ghez was selected today by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to receive the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Reinhard Genzel for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.

The Nobel Prize website notes that their work has given us the most persuasive evidence yet of a black hole in the centre of the Milky way. “Stretching the limits of technology, they refined new techniques to compensate for distortions caused by the Earth’s atmosphere, building unique instruments and committing themselves to long-term research”, says the Nobel Prize website.

Ghez is an astronomer and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles. She was inducted into Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society in 1987 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Chapter. She served as a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer, 2000 – 2002. 

In the press conference where Ghez's Nobel Prize was announced, she stated, “I hope I can inspire other young women into the field. It’s a field that has so many pleasures, and if you are passionate about the science, there’s so much that can be done.”

The prize amount is 10 million Swedish krona, or U.S. $1,116,034.00, to be shared with one half to Roger Penrose and the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez. 

More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety