Andrea M. Ghez, distinguished professor of Physics & Astronomy and the Lauren B. Leichtman & Arthur E. Levin Chair in Astrophysics at UCLA, is a world-leading expert in observational astrophysics. Ghez earned her B.S. in Physics from MIT in 1987 and her Ph.D. from Caltech in 1992, and has been on the faculty at UCLA since 1994.
She has published more than 100 refereed papers and given over 200 invited talks and her work is featured in textbooks, documentaries, and science exhibits. She has received numerous honors and awards including the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, a MacArthur Fellowship, and election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Ghez is best know for her ground-breaking measurements of stars orbiting the center of our galaxy, which revealed the presence of a supermassive black hole. This work provided the best evidence to date for the existence of these exotic objects, which represent the breakdown in our understanding of Gravity and Quantum Mechanics.
This work has also revealed an environment around the black hole that is quite different from models of the feedback that is thought to occur between central black holes play and their host galaxies.
Ghez’s research team (galacticcenter.astro.ucla.edu) is now focused on increasing the precision of these measurements with advanced high angular resolution imaging techniques and the next generation of large telescopes to new tests of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and to understand the role that black holes play in the formation and evolution of galaxies.