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UDLAP Professor Receives the Breakthrough Prize

  • She received the award as part of the team that obtained the data to visualize the shadow of a black hole.

Dr. Milagros Zeballos Rebaza, faculty member of the Department of Actuarial Sciences, Physics, and Mathematics at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, is one of the scientists who received the Breakthrough Prize, which is known as the Oscar of Science. The UDLAP professor was part of a multi-institutional and multinational team that obtained the data to capture the shadow of a black hole. The discovery was announced on April 10, 2019 with an image achieved thanks to the participation of 347 scientists who applied a technique known as long-based interferometry, which combines signals from several telescopes to simulate a much larger one.

“As part of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, I was granted the Breakthrough Prize, which is given in three fundamental scientific categories: Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences, and Math. The EHT project won for the year 2020 in the Fundamental Physics category,” commented Dr. Zeballos who also said that the 3 million-dollar award is for the team collaborating in the project. “We are planning now what to do with this money, that the prize earned by the members of the Large Millimeter Telescope be utilized to promote science among young people who live in the communities around that telescope,” she said.

The Breakthrough Prize is one of the biggest scientific awards in the world, and is known as the “the Oscar of Science.” This award recognizes outstanding achievements in physics, math, and biological sciences and was established in 2012 through the Milner Initiative, backed by the president of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and one of the creators of Google, Serguéi Brin. “The Breakthrough Prize is awarded to outstanding research in fundamental physics; the idea behind it is to encourage research in basic science, considered as the way to advance science and technology for mankind,” Dr. Milagros Zeballos explained.

Finally, Dr. Zeballos Rebaza mentioned that winning this prize is a great satisfaction for her, “because it represents the work of a lot of people for a long time, since the EHT project has been trying for many years to capture the first image of a black hole.”

It is worth mentioning that every year the Prize has a topic. This year´s is “See the Invisible”, inspired by the collaboration of the EHT, which obtained the first image of a black hole, a great feat for the scientific world.

The participation of Dr. Milagros Zeballos Rebaza in the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) was focused on acquiring data to produce this image. The Prize will be received on November 3 by Shepherd Doyleman, event director of the EHT, in representation of the team members who obtained the data to visualize the shadow of a black hole.