The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics is being announced on Tuesday, an award that has in the past honoured discoveries about the tiniest of particles and the vast mysteries of outer space.
Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, will announce the recipient sometime after 11:45 am CET.
Among those in the running to be honoured are American astrophysicist Shep Doeleman, as well as the German Heino Falcke, could be rewarded for their work on the Event Horizon Telescope project. In an historic image which travelled around the world in April 2019, the team were the first to immortalise a “black hole”.
According to the Clarivate specialist institute, which each year predicts possible winners, the Nobel Prize in Physics could also go to a trio of other space experts.
The Mexican-British Carlos Frenk, the Argentinian Julio Navarro and the German-British Simon White are also in contention for their research into the formation and evolution of galaxies, cosmic structure and halos of dark matter.
It is common for several scientists who worked in related fields to share the prize. Last year’s prize went to Canadian-born cosmologist James Peebles for theoretical work about the early moments after the Big Bang, and Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for discovering a planet outside our solar system.
The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (more than €950,000), courtesy of a bequest left 124 years ago by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel. The amount was increased recently to adjust for inflation.
On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize for physiology or medicine to Americans Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice, and British-born scientist Michael Houghton for discovering the liver-ravaging Hepatitis C virus.
The other prizes awarded by the committee are for outstanding work in the fields of chemistry, literature, peace and economics.