Britain’s Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel of Germany and American Andrea Ghez have won the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discoveries about one of the most exotic phenomena in the universe, black holes.

Oxford’s Penrose won half the prize for his work using mathematics to prove that black holes are a direct consequence of the general theory of relativity.

Genzel, of the Max Planck Institute and Ghez at the University of California shared the other half for discovering that an invisible and extremely heavy object – very often a black hole –  governs the orbits of stars at the centre of the galaxy.

Black holes – which are so dense that not even light can escape their gravity – remain largely a mystery to modern science.

2019 winners

Canadian-American cosmologist James Peebles and Swiss scientists Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics for revealing the wonder of the evolution of the universe and discovering planets orbiting distant suns.

Peebles was awarded half the prize while Mayor and Queloz shared the other half.