TOCHUKWU ERESIA-EKE

If you’re one to keep up with the happenings of campus life and news then you’ve probably already heard of the young UP Professor of Physics, Roger Deane, who has been making waves in the world of astronomy. Prof. Deane first caught the public’s attention earlier this year when he was part of a team that successfully completed the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project – a project which took on the seemingly impossible task of using eight various telescopes in different geographical locations to mimic the power of a single telescope on Earth in order to image a black hole.

This black hole did not emit any light and was thus inherently invisible. The team took on a daunting number of wearying tasks and procedures in their attempt to capture the shadowy silhouette of the Event Horizon by using the accretion disk, which are the jets of light around the black hole, all while facing wavering weather conditions and patterns. Prof. Deane and his team successfully completed the task, earning themselves the immeasurable achievement of providing the first-ever image of a black hole located in the centre of Messier 87, one of the largest galaxies in the universe. This not only allowed for a closer look into this astronomical wonder but also proved Einstein’s 114-year old general theory of Relativity to be correct.

“This black hole did not emit any light and was thus inherently invisible.”

It’s due to this impressive achievement that Prof. Deane and the other members of the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration were awarded the acclaimed 2020 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics, as this ground-breaking addition to the field of study continues to not only attract the attention of the global community of astronomers but a wider community of Physics as a whole. Each member of the team will receive an equal share of a $3 million prize, which will be collected by the team’s collaboration director at a ceremony on 3, November at the NASA Ames Research Center in California.

Prof Deane has not only helped open a new world of opportunity for discovery and exploration in the field of astronomy but in doing so, has brought great pride and acclamation to the University of Pretoria as we celebrate him and his team in their achievements and their receipt of the 2020 Breakthrough Prize.

Image: http://avntraining.hartrao.ac.za

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