Nobel Prize 2020 Resources

AIP congratulates Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel, and Andrea Ghez on being named the winners of this year's Nobel Prize in physics. Penrose receives one-half of the prize "for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity." Genzel and Ghez share one-half "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy."

AIP offers a wide variety of resources for the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics. This page will be updated throughout the day with information and resources about the 2020 Prize and the newly named laureates. Click on the links below to view resources from AIP, its Member Societies, and AIP Publications.

From AIP Leadership

Statement from Michael Moloney, CEO of AIP

“I am struck today at how we are celebrating not only magnificent discoveries about the fundamental nature of the universe but also the cutting-edge application of the scientific method to use the motions of stars to identify large unseen objects, as predicted by prior theoretical work.

“Roger Penrose took an established theoretical framework developed by Albert Einstein and showed that black holes are a direct consequence of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Then, Andrea Ghez and Reinhard Genzel used some of the world’s newest and largest telescopes, coupled with recently developed observing tools, to stretch the technical limitations of astronomical observations and focus on the motion of stars at the center of our galaxy to show that a massive black hole lurks there, otherwise unseen. This celebration of the scientific method is all the more important when many in society appear today to doubt its application or utility.

“I am particularly delighted to recognize Andrea's being only the fourth woman to win the Nobel Prize in physics.  When Donna Strickland was recognized in 2018, I said that her being the first woman in 55 years to win was ‘way too long.’ This statement remains true today. We have a long way to go yet to achieve gender equity in physics and a longer path yet to achieve true inclusivity and belonging in our field.”


Black holes -- the darkest secrets of the universe -- have been challenging physicists for decades. The existence of a celestial object with so much gravity that even light cannot escape had been speculated since the 18th century, but when Albert Einstein formulated his general theory of relativity in 1915, the mathematics seemed too complex to solve and describe something real.

The mathematical understanding of black holes and the detection of one at the center of our own galaxy are at the core of this year’s Nobel Prize in physics.

Where physics ends

In the 1960s, Roger Penrose developed the mathematical tools that proved that in a universe that operates under the rules of general relativity, black holes are an obvious byproduct.

His work predicts that when a dying star implodes beyond a point of no return, its gravitational field will irresistibly create what is known as a gravitational singularity in space-time where the known laws of physics cease to exist. These predictions are a direct result of Einstein’s general relativity and together point to one culprit -- black holes. 

Seeing the invisible

But if these objects exist, how can they be found? How can scientists see something that is, by definition, invisible?

One way is to look at the motions of stars. Just as the planets in our solar system orbit our sun, luminous objects, like stars, would be expected to orbit a nearby black hole. By following these motions, the existence of a black hole and its properties can be inferred.

Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez did exactly that. Using large telescopes in observatories based in Hawaii and Chile and the latest technologies for observing faint objects, they noticed more than two dozen stars were orbiting something they couldn’t see at the center of our galaxy, nearly 26,000 light-years away. The object, Sagittarius A*, is compact and more than 4,000,000 times the mass of our sun. The only explanation is a supermassive black hole.

The discoveries of Penrose, Genzel, and Ghez just scratch the horizon of these celestial ghosts, and more surprises are likely in store.

From the AIP Physics Network

Portrait of Roger Penrose <br/>Credit: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection

Niels Bohr Library & Archives resources on Penrose:

Oral History Interview: (Jan. 24, 1989)

Penrose in the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Projective geometry: origin of quantum equations [sound recording], 1972 October 30
Each tape contains a recording of Dirac speaking on October 30, 1972 at Boston University. This recording includes the personal announcement by Dirac of the secret manner in which he created quantum mechanics. Roger Penrose offers concluding remarks at the end of the recording.

Gravity Research Foundation essays and abstracts, 1949-2019:
This collection comprises a complete set of essays submitted to the Gravity Research Foundation's annual essay contest on gravitation, its theory, applications or effects.

Library materials featuring Penrose 

Statement from Alix Vance, CEO of AIP Publishing

“It is exciting to see the Nobel committee award this year’s Nobel Prize for physics to a collaboration between theory and experiment. Roger Penrose’s work to use Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity to predict the existence of black holes in 1965 lead to the observation by Andrea Ghez and Reinhard Genzel using some of the world’s newest and largest telescopes in the 1990s.”

“I am particularly delighted to recognize Andrea's being only the fourth woman to win the Nobel Prize in physics and the second woman to win in the last two years. Though we have a long way to go to achieve gender equality in physics, this represents an important step and indication that we can close the gap.”


Below you will find links to relevant works from AIP Publishing, freely available to read for a limited time.


The basic ideas of conformal cyclic cosmology 
Roger Penrose 
AIP Conference Proceedings 1446, 233 (2012)

The Nature of Space and Time 
Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose and John Preskill 
Physics Today 49, 60 (1996)

The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics 
Roger Penrose and Rolf Landauer 
Physics Today 43, 73 (1990)

Spinors and Space‐Time, Volume I: Two‐Spinor Calculus and Relativistic Fields 
Roger Penrose, Wolfgang Rindler and Joshua N. Goldberg 
Physics Today 39, 72 (1986)

Spinors and Space‐Time, Volume 2: Spinor and Twistor Methods in Space‐Time Geometry 
Roger Penrose, Wolfgang Rindler and Joshua N. Goldberg 
Physics Today 39, 79 (1986)

The Kähler structure of asymptotic twistor space 
M. Ko, E. T. Newman and R. Penrose 
Journal of Mathematical Physics 18, 58 (1977) 

A space‐time calculus based on pairs of null directions 
R. Geroch, A. Held and R. Penrose 
Journal of Mathematical Physics 14, 874 (1973)

Solutions of the Zero‐Rest‐Mass Equations 
Roger Penrose 
Journal of Mathematical Physics 10, 38 (1969)

Conserved Quantities in the Einstein‐Maxwell Theory 
Albert R. Exton, Ezra T. Newman and Roger Penrose 
Journal of Mathematical Physics 10, 1566 (1969)

Note on the Bondi-Metzner-Sachs Group 
E. T. Newman and R. Penrose 
Journal of Mathematical Physics 7, 863 (1966)

Twistor Algebra 
R. Penrose 
Journal of Mathematical Physics 8, 345 (1967)

An Approach to Gravitational Radiation by a Method of Spin Coefficients 
Ezra Newman and Roger Penrose 
Journal of Mathematical Physics 3, 566 (1962)



Charles Hard Townes 
Reinhard Genzel and Raymond Chiao 
Physics Today 68, 64 (2015)

The Galactic Center large program 
X. Haubois, R. Genzel, G. Perrin, S. Gillessen, T. Paumard, K. Dodds‐Eden, Y. Clénet and D. Rouan 
AIP Conference Proceedings 1053, 91 (2008)

86 GHz aperture synthesis observations of the Galactic center 
M. C. H. Wright, R. Genzel, R. Güsten and D. T. Jaffe 
AIP Conference Proceedings 155, 133 (1987)

Hat creek aperture synthesis observations of the circum‐nuclear ring in the Galactic Center Galactic Center 
R. Güsten, R. Genzel, M. C. H. Wright, D. T. Jaffe, J. Stutzki and A. Harris 
AIP Conference Proceedings 155, 103 (1987)

The distance to the center of the galaxy 
J. M. Moran, M. J. Reid, M. H. Schneps, C. R. Gwinn, R. Genzel, D. Downes and B. Rönnäng 
AIP Conference Proceedings 155, 166 (1987)

Excitation gradient of the molecular gas in the Sgr A circum‐nuclear ring 
J. B. Lugten, G. J. Stacey, A. I. Harris, R. Genzel and C. H. Townes 
AIP Conference Proceedings 155, 118 (1987)

Mapping of C+ far‐infrared emission in the inner galaxy 
J. B. Lugten, R. Genzel, M. K. Crawford and C. H. Townes 
AIP Conference Proceedings 155, 123 (1987)

OI and OIII in Sgr A: neutral and ionized gas at the Galactic center 
R. Genzel, D. Watson, C. Townes, D. Lester, H. Dinerstein, M. Werner and J. Storey 
AIP Conference Proceedings 83, 72 (1982)



High precision dynamical masses for brown dwarf binaries 
Q.M. Konopacky, A.M. Ghez, T.S. Barman, I.S. Mclean, G. Duchene 
AIP Conference Proceedings 1094, 112 (2009)

Below you will find links to relevant works from AIP Member Societies, freely available to read for a limited time.

From the American Association of Physics Teachers

The Nature of Space and Time 
Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose and Curt Cutler 
American Journal of Physics 65, 676 (1997)

The Emperor’s New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics 
Roger Penrose and N. David Mermin 
American Journal of Physics 58, 1214 (1990)

Energy Conservation as the Basis of Relativistic Mechanics 
R. Penrose and W. Rindler 
American Journal of Physics 33, 55 (1965)

Energy Conservation as the Basis of Relativistic Mechanics. II 
J. Ehlers, W. Rindler and R. Penrose 
American Journal of Physics 33, 995 (1965)

From the American Astronomical Society

AAS Congratulates Recipients of Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 for Research on Black Holes

From the American Physical Society

2020 Nobel Prize in Physics Announced

Nobel Prize in Physics Recognizes Black Hole Discoveries

From The Optical Society

Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez Awarded 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics

Infrared Imaging, Adaptive Optics Spurred Nobel-Worthy Discovery

Chemistry Nobel Prize Resources

AIP and AIP Publishing congratulate Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna on being named the winners of this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry "for the development of a method for genome editing."


Below you will find links to relevant works from AIP Publishing, freely available to read for a limited time.

Articles Related to CRISPR/Cas9

Site-directed targeting of transcriptional activation-associated proteins to repressed chromatin restores CRISPR activity 
René Daer, Fatima Hamna, Cassandra M. Barrett and Karmella A. Haynes 
APL Bioengineering 4, 016102 (2020)

Identification of on-target mutagenesis during correction of a beta-thalassemia splice mutation in iPS cells with optimised CRISPR/Cas9-double nickase reveals potential safety concerns 
Suad Alateeq, Dmitry Ovchinnikov, Timothy Tracey, Deanne Whitworth, Abdullah Al-Rubaish, Amein Al-Ali and Ernst Wolvetang 
APL Bioengineering 2, 046103 (2018)

Perspective: The promise of multi-cellular engineered living systems 
Roger D. Kamm, Rashid Bashir, Natasha Arora, Roy D. Dar, Martha U. Gillette, Linda G. Griffith, Melissa L. Kemp, Kathy Kinlaw, Michael Levin, Adam C. Martin, Todd C. McDevitt, Robert M. Nerem, Mark J. Powers, Taher A. Saif, James Sharpe, Shuichi Takayama, Shoji Takeuchi, Ron Weiss, Kaiming Ye, Hannah G. Yevick and Muhammad H. Zaman 
APL Bioengineering 2, 040901 (2018)

Efforts to improve the efficiency and specificity of CRISPR-Cas9 techniques 
Yuanyuan Wang 
AIP Conference Proceedings 2079, 020015 (2019)

Development of CRISPR/Cas9 plasmid for multiple sites genome editing in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) 
Victor Aprilyanto, Chris Darmawan, Condro Utomo and Tony Liwang 
AIP Conference Proceedings 2099, 020002 (2019)

Development of an agrobacterium-delivered CRISPR/Cas9 for Phalaenopsis amabilis (L.) Blume genome editing system 
Sri Nopitasari, Yuli Setiawati, Muhammad Dylan Lawrie, Aziz Purwantoro, Jaka Widada, Aries Bagus Sasongko, Yasushi Yoshioka, Shogo Matsumoto, Kana Ninomiya, Yukii Asano and Endang Semiarti
IP Conference Proceedings 2260, 060014 (2020)

Agrobacterium-mediated transformation facillitates the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system in Dendrobium macrophyllum A. Rich orchid 
Yuli Setiawati, Sri Nopitasari, Muhammad Dylan Lawrie, Aziz Purwantoro, Jaka Widada, Aries Bagus Sasongko, Kana Ninomiya, Yuuki Asano, Shogo Matsumoto, Yasushi Yoshioka and Endang Semiarti 
AIP Conference Proceedings 2260, 060016 (2020)

Production of transgenic swine by sperm stem cell transplantation and gene editing technology 
Tianzi Zhang 
AIP Conference Proceedings 2058, 020011 (2019)

Genetic and epigenetic regulatory mechanism of rice panicle development 
Chongwei Tu, Tiantian Li and Xiaoyun Liu 
AIP Conference Proceedings 2079, 020001 (2019)

The invisible dance of CRISPR-Cas9 
Giulia Palermo, Clarisse G. Ricci and J. Andrew McCammon 
Physics Today 72, 30 (2019)

Cats and llamas could offer a path to coronavirus therapies 
David Kramer 
Physics Today 73, 22 (2020)

Structural and dynamic insights into the role of conformational switching in the nuclease activity of the Xanthomonas albilineans Cas2 in CRISPR-mediated adaptive immunity 
Donghyun Ka, Suji Hong, Ugeene Jeong, Migyeong Jeong, Nayoung Suh, Jeong-Yong Suh and Euiyoung Bae 
Structural Dynamics 4, 054701 (2017)


Articles with Methods Related to CRISPR

A fast and efficient size separation method for haploid embryonic stem cells 
Remo Freimann and Anton Wutz 
Biomicrofluidics 11, 054117 (2017)

Automated electrotransformation of Escherichia coli on a digital microfluidic platform using bioactivated magnetic beads 
J. A. Moore, M. Nemat-Gorgani, A. C. Madison, M. A. Sandahl, S. Punnamaraju, A. E. Eckhardt, M. G. Pollack, F. Vigneault, G. M. Church, R. B. Fair, M. A. Horowitz and P. B. Griffin 
Biomicrofluidics 11, 014110 (2017)

In vitro models of molecular and nano-particle transport across the blood-brain barrier 
Cynthia Hajal, Marco Campisi, Clara Mattu, Valeria Chiono and Roger D. Kamm 
Biomicrofluidics 12, 042213 (2018)


Articles with CRISPR mentions

Mapping regulators of cell fate determination: Approaches and challenges 
Aditya Kumar and Prashant Mali 
APL Bioengineering 4, 031501 (2020)

Modeling cardiac complexity: Advancements in myocardial models and analytical techniques for physiological investigation and therapeutic development in vitro 
Neal I. Callaghan, Sina Hadipour-Lakmehsari, Shin-Haw Lee, Anthony O. Gramolini and Craig A. Simmons 
APL Bioengineering 3, 011501 (2019)

Endothelial mechanobiology 
Ming He, Marcy Martin, Traci Marin, Zhen Chen and Brendan Gongol 
APL Bioengineering 4, 010904 (2020)

Perspective: The role of mechanobiology in the etiology of brain metastasis 
Kandice Tanner 
APL Bioengineering 2, 031801 (2018)

Disease-directed engineering for physiology-driven treatment interventions in neurological disorders 
Thomas Wood and Elizabeth Nance 
APL Bioengineering 3, 040901 (2019)

Quantitative assessment of chemotropism in pollen tubes using microslit channel filters 
Naoki Yanagisawa and Tetsuya Higashiyama 
Biomicrofluidics 12, 024113 (2018)

Passive micropumping in microfluidics for point-of-care testing 
Linfeng Xu, Anyang Wang, Xiangpeng Li and Kwang W. Oh 
Biomicrofluidics 14, 031503 (2020)

New books & media 
Alex Lopatka and Cynthia Cummings 
Physics Today 73, 56 (2020)

The emergent physics of animal locomotion 
Simon Sponberg 
Physics Today 70, 34 (2017)

Does new physics lurk inside living matter? 
Paul Davies 
Physics Today 73, 34 (2020)

Benchmarking the communication fidelity of biomolecular signaling cascades featuring pseudo-one-dimensional transport 
Pratip Rana, Kevin R. Pilkiewicz, Michael L. Mayo and Preetam Ghosh 
AIP Advances 8, 055220 (2018)