Thursday, November 06, 2014

Andrea Ghez for the Physics Nobel Prize!

The only bright political news is that Jerry Brown Won!

In the same state of California, from my Alma Mater, UC, I have other great news.

Andrea Ghez should get 'The Physics Nobel Prize'.  As you may know this year's prize, is going to Shuji Nakamura from Santa Barbara. This note is about Professor Ghez, from Los Angeles, though.

When I was a student at Santa Barbara in the seventies, Professor James Hartle, had invited the foremost expert on Black Holes of the time, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, to give  a lecture. I asked him: When will we observe a Black Hole? He said that not in our lifetimes, because in his view, one will have to detect the event horizon to be sure. To this day nobody has taken a picture of the famous horizon, but here I beg to disagree with Professor Chandrasekhar. It is not necessary to do that. I guess his mathematical mind was not going to be convinced otherwise, but I am a physicist, not a mathematician, and what Professor Ghez just did, has completely convinced me that we have our own Black Hole in the center of the Galaxy in Sagittarius A*.
You can read the links at the beginning of this note for more details, here I just state my reasons to be completely convinced of the existence of the Black Hole in Sagittarius A*.

A cloud, G2 gas cloud, was recently discovered, and the first ideas about it, were that we would have a 'light show' in the sky. The predicted time came and went, and we didn't get our show. But as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in one of his stories: The dog did nothing in the night-time, this was a very interesting event.

What Professor Ghez and collaborators just proved, in the article posted in Los Alamos electronic repository linked at the beginning of this note, is that the cloud had an owner, actually two owners. Two stars very close together, which had not been detected prior to this work, kept the integrity of the observed object. These stars are still going around our nearest super-massive black hole after getting very close to it. It was the big Ghez's database, which allowed the group to detect previous pictures of these objects.

The authors of the article propose, that a good fraction of the stars observed by them, in the past decades were formed that way. The black hole produces an environment in which small objects link up to make bigger objects, which can be observed on Earth, as relativistic stars, moving at velocities very close to that of light.

If Professor Chandrasekhar were alive, maybe he could invent all kinds of alternative explanations. I am sorry, to me it looks like a duck, it moves like a duck, and it quacks like a duck: IT IS A DUCK! 

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