The Albert Einstein Society in Bern, Switzerland, will award its 2020 Einstein Medal to the international collaboration of scientists behind the Event Horizon Telescope. The prize recognizes the group for their landmark work imaging the shadow of the supermassive black hole at the heart of the elliptical galaxy Messier 87.
“I think the team received the prize because we have shown something that was before considered as impossible to see,” says collaboration member Bart Ripperda, who is now a research fellow at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics. “I think and hope that this inspires everyone to believe that seemingly impossible things can be done.”
The Einstein Medal recognizes individuals for their scientific findings, works or publications related to the work of Albert Einstein. The Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, consisting of more than 200 scientists from around the world, used a network of eight radio telescopes to confirm that a black hole would warp space-time as predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Typically, the Einstein Medal is given only to one or two people a year. This year the nomination committee made an exception due to the extraordinary achievement of the Event Horizon Telescope team.