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Andrea Ghez becomes 4th woman awarded Nobel Prize in Physics

Achieving Woman
 Andrea is an astronomer and professor of Physics (Photo: Courtesy/UCLA)

American astronomer and professor of Physics Andrea Ghez has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. She becomes the fourth woman to receive the award.

Ghez, 55, was recognised, as described by the Nobel Prize website, "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy" otherwise known as the black hole. 

In a telephone interview transcript shared on the same site, Ghez exclaimed that she was “so thrilled” and “can’t quite believe it yet”.  Passion drove her to becoming an astrophysicist. “I think the questions of the universe just inspired me...for me it was really following my passions, my curiosity about the universe,” she said.

Ghez has been a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) since 1994 having graduated from MIT with a Bachelors in Physics and a PhD from the California Institute of Technology. 

Other women who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics are Marie Curie, Maria Goeppert Mayer and Donna Strickland.

“To me it’s always been very important to encourage young women into the sciences,” she explained, “so to me it means an opportunity and a responsibility to encouraging the next generation of scientists who are passionate about this kind of work.”

Ghez shares one half of the Nobel Prize with German astrophysicist Reinhard Genzel while the other half goes to English mathematical physicist Roger Penrose. 

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