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Reinhard Genzel

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Reinhard Genzel
Genzel in 2012
Born (1952-03-24) 24 March 1952 (age 72)
Known forInfrared astronomy
Submillimetre astronomy
Scientific career
InstitutionsMax Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
University of California, Berkeley
Thesis Beobachtung von H2O-Masern in Gebieten von OB-Sternentstehung  (1978)
Doctoral advisorPeter Georg Mezger

Reinhard Genzel ForMemRS[1] (German pronunciation: [ˈʁaɪnhaʁt 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] In a 2021 interview given to Federal University of Pará in Brazil, Genzel recalls his journey as a physicist; the influence of his father, Ludwig Genzel [de]; his experiences working with Charles H. Townes; and more.[4][5]

Life and career


Genzel was born in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Germany, the son of Eva-Maria Genzel and Ludwig Genzel, a professor of solid state physics (1922–2003). He studied physics at the University of Freiburg and the University of Bonn, graduating in 1978 with a PhD in radioastronomy which he prepared at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy.[6] Subsequently he worked at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian 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.[7] During that time he also lectured at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, where he has been Honorary Professor since 1988.[6] From 1999 to 2016, he also had a part-time joint appointment as Full Professor at the University of California, Berkeley.[6][7] Additional activities include sitting on the selection committee for the Shaw Prize in astronomy.[8]



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.[9] Genzel is also active in studies of the formation and evolution of galaxies.[7]

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.[10][11]


Reinhard Genzel in 2023

Membership of scientific societies



  1. ^ a b http://royalsociety.org/people/reinhard-genzel/ 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. ^ Interview with Professor Reinhard Genzel (2020 Physics Nobel Prize Laureate) - Pt. I, 20 July 2021, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 11 August 2021
  5. ^ Interview with Prof. Reinhard Genzel (2020 Physics Nobel Prize Laureate) - Pt. II, 10 August 2021, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 11 August 2021
  6. ^ a b c Curriculum-vitae Archived 5 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine, website of the Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik
  7. ^ a b c "Reinhard Genzel (E)". UC Berkeley Physics. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Selection Committees 2020–2021". www.shawprize.org. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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 29 August 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ "Studienstiftung gratuliert ihrem Alumnus Reinhard Genzel zum Nobelpreis für Physik". Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. Retrieved 8 October 2020. (in German)
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Profesor Reinhard Genzel". Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  14. ^ The Awarding of the Einstein Medal: Albert Einstein Medal Laureates at Albert Einstein Medal website
  15. ^ "The Shaw Prize". The Shaw Prize. 28 April 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  16. ^ "Lebenslauf Genzel" (PDF). Retrieved 3 April 2024.
  17. ^ "Reinhard Genzel receives Karl Schwarzschild Medal 2011". 13 July 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Crafoord Prize for Reinhard Genzel". Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. 22 July 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  19. ^ "Tycho Brahe-Preis für Reinhard Genzel". Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (in German). 25 February 2020. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  20. ^ a b c "Pour le Mérite: Reinhard Genzel" (PDF). www.orden-pourlemerite.de. 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Lebenslauf Genzel" (PDF). Retrieved 3 April 2024.
  22. ^ Harvey Prize 2014 Archived 2 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Awards, Medals and Prizes – Herschel Medal". Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  24. ^ Bayerischer Maximiliansorden 2021
  25. ^ "Doctor Honoris Causa Ceremony 2023". Université Grenoble Alpes. Retrieved 9 December 2023.
  26. ^ "Reinhard Genzel". National Academy of Sciences. 18 June 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  27. ^ "Leopoldina-Präsident Gerald Haug gratuliert Leopoldina-Mitglied Reinhard Genzel zum Nobelpreis für Physik". idw (in German). Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  28. ^ "Neue Mitglieder der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften". idw (in German). Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  29. ^ "Reinhard Genzel appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences". Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2021.