The Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 was awarded to Roger Penrose “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity”, and to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.”
The Society for Promotion of Science of Science & Technology in India (SPSTI) and the Chandigarh Chapter of National Academy of Sciences India (NASI) jointly conducted an online awareness lecture on the above topic on Saturday, November 28, 2020, at 03:30 PM. The details are as under:-
Prof. Harvinder Jassal
Dept. of Physical Sciences
IISER Mohali &
Prof. Jasjeet S. Bagla
Dean-Academics & Professor of Physics
Roger Penrose has been awarded for his contribution to understanding black holes. He proved that black holes are a direct consequence of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity and that they really can form and described them in detail; at their heart, black holes hide a singularity.
Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez have independently lead groups of astronomers who observed the centre of our galaxy. These groups observed the orbits of the brightest stars closest to the middle of the Milky Way with great precision. They proved that there is a very massive and compact object at the centre of our galaxy.”.
This was the fifth expository lecture in the series of lectures on Nobel Prizes, 2020. The lecture was attended by more than 90 participants on the zoom and about 634 viewed the same on Face book and 2984 reached the Facebook page of SPSTI.
The session began with the introduction by Prof. Keya Dharamvir about formation of Royal Society 360 years ago in London on November 28, 1660. The opening remarks were presented by Prof. Arun K. Grover, Former Vice Chancellor of Panjab University and Vice President of SPSTI who spoke about the series of expository lectures covering each of the 2020 Nobel prizes, scheduled to be delivered by Dec. 10, when the prizes will be awarded. He also told about the series of lecture coming up in January 2021 on Abel Prizes in Mathematics and Turing Award in Computer Science. Prof. Suman Beri, Panjab University, Chandigarh introduced the speakers, Prof. Harvinder Jassal, Department of Physical Science, IISER, Mohali and Prof. Jasjeet S. Bagla, Dean Academics and Professor of Physics, IISER, Mohali.
Prof. Harvinder Jassal explained about the word done by Roger Penrose for understanding the black holes. She explained the work done by various scientists over the years to understand black holes. She used video to explain the concept of black holes, the singularity and event horizon. She explained in very simple terms that black hole is about three Solar mass.
Prof. Jasjeet S. Bagla deliberated on topic “black hole” in the galaxy. His talk focused on work done by Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez who proved there is very massive and compact object in the centre of our galaxy. Through his presentation which included videos, graphs and diagrams he explained how black hole mass is correlated with mass of the bulge. He explained how reduction in flux and atmospheric turbulences made it difficult to observe the black holes using speckle imaging. Then came in active optics which continued for decades but deformation in lens due to mechanical load and difference in temperature resulted in low resolution images. With adaptive optics deformable mirrors were used leading to high resolution images. This helped in reconstruction of orbits of stars and understanding that there is very massive and compact object in the centre of our galaxy.
The sessions followed with questions about use of such discoveries in human welfare and relating the phenomenon related with black holes and our solar system. There was an elaborative discussion relating these topics. The session was much appreciated by attendees. The concluding remarks were made by Prof. K. P. Singh. Shri Dharam Vir, IAS (Retd.) & President SPSTI, presented a vote of thanks to the speaker as well as the audience.