Black Hole Image Prize Wins Professor Nijmegen an Important American Award

Falkey receives the Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences. This award is awarded every four years. Falk will receive $ 25,000 (more than € 20,000), which he must share with his American colleague Shepard Doyleman.

the third time

This is the third time that a scientist from the Netherlands has won the medal. In 1921, the prize was awarded to Peter Zeman, who had previously won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1902. In 1955, the medal was awarded to Hendrik Van de Holst.

Earlier this month, Falk’s team had already received an award from the British Royal Astronomical Society for its black hole image. The image has also been named the most important scientific discovery of 2019.

Black holes are places in the universe where the force of gravity is so great that nothing can escape from them, not even light. Whatever comes close will be swallowed up and torn apart.


Thus, black holes themselves are not visible, but we can observe where the light disappears and disappears. Falk called that region “the shadow of a black hole.” This ring of light can also be seen in Team Falk’s landmark photo, the Event Horizon Telescope.

The black hole is located at the heart of Messier 87 galaxy, 55 million light-years from Earth. The diameter of the pictured hole is 40 billion km, and the shadow that scientists saw is 100 billion km. The hole is 6.5 billion times the size of our sun.

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