Professor Reinhard Genzel ForMemRS
Astrophysicist, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
Reinhard Genzel is a world leader in the area of infrared astronomy. He and his group have pioneered a variety of new techniques which have increased the sensitivity and angular resolution of infrared instruments dramatically, and they have produced many of the most successful ground and space-based instruments of the last two decades. Genzel is particularly well known for his study of the centre of our own Milky Way, where, by careful tracing of the orbits of stars, he was able to demonstrate unambiguously the presence of a black hole 4 million times as massive as the Sun. This is the best evidence we have for the existence of black holes.