‘Oscar of Science Goes’ to Team behind World's First Black Hole Image

James Marshall
September 10, 2019

The 347 scientists who collaborated to produce the world's first image of a black hole were honoured yesterday with the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, winning US$3 million (RM12.6 million) for what is known as the "Oscars of science".

The Breakthrough Prize, now in its eighth year, has three main prizes: in Fundamental Physics, in Life Sciences and in Mathematics. The awards have some of the highest rewarding prizes in the field of science as they are funded by the giants of Silicon Valley like Yuri Milner and Mark Zuckerberg.

Yale's Arthur L. Horwich and colleague F. Ulrich Hartl from the Max Planck Institute will share the $3 million Breakthrough Prize, the richest prize in the sciences.

Photographers taking pictures of the first image of a black hole projected on a screen during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, on April 10. The almighty gravitational pull that results prevents anything - including light - from escaping.

The team was able to capture the supermassive blackhole by linking radio dishes from several observatories across the Earth to render the image of the black hole. It's this distance and lack of light that made it such a challenge to capture.

The event horizon of a black hole is the point at which its gravitational effects are strong that light can not escape its pull.

Collaboration Director Shep Doeleman of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said: "We set out to see the unseeable, and we needed to build a telescope as large as the Earth to do it".

Winners across the categories will receive their Breakthrough Prize awards at a special event at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, in November 2019.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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