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Blue Dot 206: NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS 2020: Black Holes


Dave takes a deep dive into the science of black holes, which were the basis of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics which went to Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez. Denver Museum of Nature and Science Curator of Space Science joins us to talk about the Nobel Prize and the basic physics behind our understanding of black holes, which are the ultimate warping of space-time.

The Nobel went one half to Penrose for his pioneering work on black holes based on Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. The other half was split between Genzel from the Max Planck Institute in Germany and Ghez from UCLA for their work on Sagittarius A, the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.


Then Dave visits with Emily Levesque, astronomer and author of The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy's Vanishing Explorers about the how and why it is so rare for a woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physics, despite the fact that the history of astrophysics is replete with examples of seminal contributions from women like Vera Rubin who discovered the existence of Dark Matter.


Dave Schlom has taught the physical sciences at Corning Union High School since 1991. A lifelong amateur astronomer and astronomy educator, he has a passion for both the earth and the space sciences, which are the principal areas of focus for guests on Blue Dot. He started doing radio interviews on space and astronomy topics for local stations like KFM and KPAY in the 1980s and into the 90s, where he was a popular go-to guest for local radio personalities. He is also an expert on the history and geology of Lassen Volcanic National Park, where he has served as a volunteer for decades. Dave enjoys a quiet life at home with his partner in life, Cheryl, and their two dogs, Elvis and Pearl, at their Red Bluff residence.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.