On 4 May 2022, we had the pleasure to host a public talk by Prof. Reinhard Genzel (Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching) on Black Holes. After introducing the work by earlier physicists and astronomers, he took the audience on a 40-year-journey of his own research endeavours. After the discovery of quasars in 1974, Genzel and his team were able to monitor the movements of stars in our galactic centre in the 1990s. Their trajectories did suggest the existence of a supermassive compact object (Sagittarius A*) already then but Genzel had to wait until 2018 to confirm this hypothesis. By means of the newly developed “interferometer” at the Very Large Telescope (ESO) the Black Hole in the centre of our Milky Way was confirmed. In 2020, Genzel was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery.
The audience on Campus Westend listened eagerly and was keen to learn more about future projects exploring our Universe. At the end, Genzel found himself surrounded by young people asking for autographs and pictures, one spectator stating “Cool, I finally got it!”.
Watch full talk (in German):