Many congratulations to MPIWG collaborator Reinhard Genzel on being awarded, with Andrea Ghez, the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy." The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science is highly grateful to Genzel for his vital support for our research into the history of modern physics.
Genzel's work spans galactic and extragalactic astrophysics—specifically infrared- and submillimetre astronomy. Based at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Genzel and his group made pioneering observations that mapped the motions of stars close to the Galactic center, leading to firm evidence for the existence of a supermassive black hole in the Milky Way.
Resources provided by Genzel, including extraordinary videos from telescopes showing the movement of stars in the center of the Milky Way, formed an integral part of the MPIWG’s 2005 exhibition "Albert Einstein—Chief Engineer of the Universe.” These remain available in the open-access online exhibition. More recently in 2015, Genzel delivered the keynote lecture in a conference by the MPIWG and Albert Einstein Institute marking the 100th anniversary of general relativity. In 2016 Genzel also participated in the conference "Opening New Windows on the Cosmos: Astrophysics and Astronomy in the History of the Max Planck Society," organized by the MPIWG's Max Planck Research Program (GMPG).