Dr. Andrea Mia Ghez: Black Hole Detective

Dr. Andrea Ghez is the fourth woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Have you ever heard of a black hole? Black holes are objects in space that have so much mass, not even light can escape their gravity. Scientists have spent years looking for black holes and recently found a very special one. They found the giant black hole at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. This black hole has more than four million times the mass of our Sun! 

Dr. Andrea Ghez is one of the astronomers who discovered this supermassive black hole. You might call Ghez a black hole detective. She has been interested in astronomy since she watched Neil Armstrong become the first person to walk on the Moon. 

This giant black hole is 27,000 light-years from Earth. That means it takes 27,000 years for light from around it to travel to Earth! So how did Ghez find something so far away? She used a very powerful telescope that detects energy traveling through space.  

There’s a lot more you need to know to be able to discover a black hole. Ghez started studying math and science when she was very young. She went to college for many years. Now she teaches at a university. 

In 2020, Ghez, Reinhard Genzel, and Sir Roger Penrose won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on black holes. Ghez is only the fourth woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. In 1903, Marie Curie became the first woman to win the prize. 

What Do You Think? Why do you think scientists study black holes? 

Photo Credit: Mike Blake/REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo