Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded to DAAD Alumnus

© picture alliance / Schellnegger

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Prof. Dr Reinhard Genzel. He was awarded the prize with his American colleague Andrea Ghez for their research on black holes. Prof. Dr Genzel has previously received funding from the DAAD.

Prof. Dr Reinhard Genzel, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching (Germany), has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 with Andrea Ghez. The Royal Swedish Academy has recognised the two scientists for their research on black holes. Announcing the honour, the Max Planck Institute stated, “Genzel and his team used high-precision methods to observe the black hole at the Milky Way’s centre, including outbursts of gas from the black hole’s immediate vicinity and the gravitational shift caused by this behemoth in the light of a passing star.” Genzel and Ghez will share half of the prize, with the other half awarded to Roger Penrose from the UK.

Collaboration with the DAAD
Born in 1952 in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Genzel studied physics at the University of Bonn. In addition to his work with the Max Planck Institute, he is also Full Professor for Physics at the University of California, Berkley, in the USA, and Honorary Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. In 2016-17, as part of the “Projekt bezogener Personenaustausch” (PPP, or ‘project-based personnel exchange) program, the scientist led a DAAD-sponsored project with Japan on the topic “Anatomie Junger Galaxien aus hochauflösenden Beobachtungen” (Anatomy of Young Galaxies Based on High-Resolution Observation). The project was successfully completed in 2017 and proved to be a fruitful collaboration, resulting in two publications and various conference contributions. The goal of project-based personnel exchange is to intensify cooperation between German and foreign research groups through joint work on a specific scientific proposition. Extra emphasis is placed on the advanced education of junior scientists to cultivate expertise in their field of specialism.

Many Nobel Laureates among DAAD Alumni
“I am really happy that this year’s Nobel laureate in physics is a DAAD alumnus”, said DAAD President Prof. Dr Joybrato Mukherjee. Many DAAD alumni have already received the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ Nobel Prize, including Nobel Peace Prize laureates Wangari Maathai (2004) and Leo Hoffmann-Axthelm (2017), medical laureate Günter Blobel (1999), physics laureate Wolfgang Ketterle (2001), and literature laureates Imre Kertész (2002), Herta Müller (2009), Mario Vargas Llosa (2010), Svetlana Alexievich (2015), Olga Tokarczuk (2018) and Peter Handke (2019).

Britta Hecker (October 15, 2020)