October 14, 2020
Congratulations to Professor Andrea Ghez and the Astronomy Community
We also congratulate Hilo's Devin Chu, who is working with Andrea Ghez and the Galactic Center Group, studying the orbits of short period stars around the supermassive black holes.
Congratulations to Professor Andrea Ghez and the Astronomy Community

Many Congratulations to Andrea Ghez on the award of the Physics 2020 Nobel Prize for her work on the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Andrea Ghez, professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and director of the UCLA Galactic Center Group, shares the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics with two other researchers, Reinhard Genzel Director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany, and Roger Penrose, professor at the University of Oxford in the UK. All three distinguished researchers are seeing their lifetime work on the study of black holes rewarded by the most prestigious prize in the area of physics. 

The W.M. Keck telescopes located on the summit of Maunakea, Hawaii, played a key-role in Ghez’s research to study the motion of thousands of stars around Sagittarius A, a bright radio-source located at the center of our galaxy, 26,000 light-years away from Earth. Her research team unambiguously demonstrated that the stars at the center of the Milky Way are orbiting a massive object, invisible to optical light, providing evidence for the existence of a super massive black hole (4 million time the mass of our Sun) at the center of our own galaxy. Black-holes are the remnant of giant stars, at the ultimate stage of their lifecycle. Andrea’s work, over the past two decades, confirmed the formation of thesemysterious objects, which were first predicted by Albert  Einstein’s general theory of relativity. 

TMT feels honored and privileged to have another Nobel Prize in its close circle. Andrea has been involved with TMT science for a long time, representing UC on the TMT Science Advisory Committee for several years.
She participated in the early discussions and development of the TMT project. Many aspects of TMT, its advanced Adaptive Optics system (NFIRAOS), and its first-light Infrared Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), have been carefully designed to provide extremely high-resolution images of objects in the universe, at the optical diffraction limit of a thirty-meter telescope. 

TMT’s cutting-edge technology will allow astronomers, including Nobel Prize winning Andrea Ghez, to study the relativistic physics of supermassive black-holes with an unprecedented resolution and sensitivity.  Using our own Galactic Center as a research laboratory, astronomers will be able to extend these types of observations to beyond the Milky Way in nearby and distant galaxies. Such work will immensely advance our understanding of black holes, when they first formed, how the galactic environment impacts their formation and growth, and how they evolve and feed from the material that surround them.  
As the fourth female Nobel Laureate in Physics, Ghez describes the Prize as "an opportunity and a responsibility to encouraging young women into the sciences and the next generation of scientists”.
Professor Andrea Ghez and Professor Richard Ellis gave a brief overview of the TMT project in 2009
Ghez’s phone interview with the chief scientific officer of Nobel Media
Galactic Center Group is headquartered at UCLA with additional members at University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Keck Observatory and Thirty Meter Telescope.

Hilo's Devin Chu, is working with Andrea Ghez and the Galactic Center Group. He is studying the orbits of short period stars around the supermassive black hole.
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, the University of California (UC), the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct, and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Maunakea in cooperation with the University of Hawaii (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.

For more information about the TMT project, visit tmt.org, or follow @TMTHawaii.
Sandra Dawson
TMT Manager, Hawaii Community Affairs
 111 Nowelo Street,
Hilo, HI 96720
Phone (808) 284-9922