Professor Andrea M. Ghez of UCLA became only the fourth woman ever to win the Nobel Prize for Physics this past Thursday for her work proving the existence of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Dr. Andrea M. Ghez is a professor of astrophysics the University of California, Los Angeles. She and German astrophyiscist Reinhard Genzel earned their half of the prize for identifying and studying a black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Sir Roger Penrose, a professor at Oxford University, won the other half of this year’s Nobel Prize in physics for his “discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.”

The other three women to achieve this honor were Marie Curie, Maria Goeppert Mayer, and Donna Strickland. Even in the 21st century, the STEM disciplines are still largely male-dominated. Therefore, we party a little extra hearty when female scientists are recognized for their accomplishments. The Nobel Prize has been granted to women only 58 times since they were first awarded in 1901.

Fifty-seven women have won the Nobel Prize for achievments if you take all fields of scientific endeaver together: Marie Curie won twice, for physics in 1903 and for chemistry in 1911.

In her private life, Dr. Ghez is married to geologist Tom La Tourette, with whom she has two sons. She swims in the Masters Swim Club, which is a group for competitive swimmers over the age of twenty-five. Dr. Ghez is fifty-five. She earned her bachelor’s degree at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and her master’s degree and doctorate from CalTech (California Institute of Technology. She was granted an honorary doctorate of science by England’s Oxford University last year. She is the author of several articles in Astrophysical Journal, Astronomical Journal, and Nature, She is the co-author, with Judith L. Cohen, of You Can Be a Woman Astronomer, which is written for middle school students.

Dr. Ghez has won several other science awards: the Annie J. Cannon Award in astronomy, the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in astronomy from the American Astronomical Society, the Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award from the American Physical Society. and like SF/F author N. K. Jemisin, the MacArthur Fellowship. congratulates and salutes Professor Andrea Ghez.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.