STOCKHOLM (CBS/AP) – Andrea Ghez, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one of three scientists to share the 2020 Nobel Prize for physics.

Ghez, Briton Roger Penrose and German Reinhard Genzel were given the award for their discoveries relating to black holes.

Ghez and Genzel discovered a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

“It really represents the basic research – you don’t always know how it is going to affect our lives here on Earth, but it is pushing the frontier of our knowledge forward, both from the point of view of pure physics (understanding what a black hole is), and then also their astrophysical world in the formation and evolution of galaxies. So today we really accept that these objects are critical to the building blocks of our universe.” Ghez said at a news conference Tuesday via phone.

Penrose proved with mathematics that the formation of black holes was possible, based heavily on Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy announced the recipients Tuesday in Stockholm.

The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and prize money of over $1.1 million courtesy of a bequest left by Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel.

Ghez graduated from MIT in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in physics. She is currently a professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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