Reinhard Genzel

Reinhard Genzel ForMemRS[1] (German: [ˈʁaɪ̯nhaʁt ˈɡɛntsl̩]; born 24 March 1952) is a German astrophysicist, co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, a professor at LMU and an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy", which he shared with Andrea Ghez and Roger Penrose.[2][3]

Reinhard Genzel
Reinhard Genzel.jpg
Genzel in 2012
Born (1952-03-24) 24 March 1952 (age 68)
Known forInfrared astronomy
Submillimetre astronomy
Scientific career
InstitutionsMax Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
University of California, Berkeley
ThesisBeobachtung von H2O-Masern in Gebieten von OB-Sternentstehung (1978)
Doctoral advisorPeter Georg Mezger

Life and careerEdit

Genzel was born in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Germany, the son of Eva-Maria Genzel and Ludwig Genzel, professor for solid state physics (1922–2003). He studied physics at the University of Freiburg and the University of Bonn where he did his PhD in 1978[4] and, in the same year, his PhD thesis on radioastronomy at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy.[4] He then worked at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was a Miller Fellow from 1980 until 1982, and also Associate and finally Full Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley from 1981. In 1986, he left Berkeley to become a director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching and Scientific Member of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.[5] He also lectured at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, where he has been Honorary Professor since 1988.[4] From 1999, he also had a part-time joint appointment as Full Professor at the University of California, Berkeley.[4][5] Additional activities include sitting on the selection committee for the Shaw Prize in astronomy.[6]


Reinhard Genzel studies infrared- and submillimetre astronomy. He and his group are active in developing ground- and space-based instruments for astronomy. They used these to track the motions of stars at the centre of the Milky Way, around Sagittarius A*, and show that they were orbiting a very massive object, now known to be a black hole.[7] Genzel is also active in studies of the formation and evolution of galaxies.[5]

In July 2018, Reinhard Genzel et al. reported that star S2 orbiting Sgr A* had been recorded at 7,650 km/s or 2.55% the speed of light leading up to the pericentre approach in May 2018 at about 120 AU ≈ 1400 Schwarzschild radii from Sgr A*. This allowed them to test the redshift predicted by general relativity at relativistic velocities, finding additional confirmation of the theory.[8][9]


Membership of scientific societiesEdit


  1. ^ a b Professor Reinhard Genzel ForMemRS
  2. ^ a b "Press release: The Nobel Prize in Physics 2020". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  3. ^ Overbye, Dennis; Taylor, Derrick Bryson (6 October 2020). "Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded to 3 Scientists for Work on Black Holes – The prize was awarded half to Roger Penrose for showing how black holes could form and half to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for discovering a supermassive object at the Milky Way's center". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Curriculum-vitae Archived 5 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine, website of the Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik
  5. ^ a b c "Reinhard Genzel (E)". UC Berkeley Physics. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Selection Committees 2020–2021". Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  7. ^ Eckart, A.; Genzel, R. (1996). "Observations of stellar proper motions near the Galactic Centre". Nature. 383 (6599): 415. Bibcode:1996Natur.383..415E. doi:10.1038/383415a0. S2CID 4285760.
  8. ^ Abuter, R.; Amorim, A. (2018). "Detection of the gravitational redshift in the orbit of the star S2 near the Galactic centre massive black hole". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 615: L15. arXiv:1807.09409. Bibcode:2018A&A...615L..15G. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201833718. S2CID 118891445. Archived from the original on 6 October 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  9. ^ Star spotted speeding near black hole at centre of Milky Way – Chile’s Very Large Telescope tracks S2 star as it reaches mind-boggling speeds by supermassive black hole, The Guardian, 26 July 2017
  10. ^ "Studienstiftung gratuliert ihrem Alumnus Reinhard Genzel zum Nobelpreis für Physik". Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. Retrieved 8 October 2020. (in German)
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Profesor Reinhard Genzel". Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  12. ^ The Awarding of the Einstein Medal: Albert Einstein Medal Laureates at Albert Einstein Medal website
  13. ^ "The Shaw Prize". The Shaw Prize. 28 April 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  14. ^ "Reinhard Genzel receives Karl Schwarzschild Medal 2011". 13 July 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Crafoord Prize for Reinhard Genzel". Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. 22 July 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  16. ^ "Tycho Brahe-Preis für Reinhard Genzel". Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (in German). 25 February 2020. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  17. ^ a b c "Pour le Mérite: Reinhard Genzel" (PDF). 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  18. ^ Harvey Prize 2014 Archived 2 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Awards, Medals and Prizes – Herschel Medal". Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  20. ^ "Reinhard Genzel". National Academy of Sciences. 18 June 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Leopoldina-Präsident Gerald Haug gratuliert Leopoldina-Mitglied Reinhard Genzel zum Nobelpreis für Physik". idw (in German). Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Neue Mitglieder der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften". idw (in German). Retrieved 6 October 2020.

External linksEdit