EU-funded research that captured first image of a black hole wins Breakthrough Prize

The 2020 Breakthrough Prize was awarded yesterday to the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a global scientific collaboration involving EU-funded scientists that captured the first-ever image of a black hole. Known as the “Oscar of Science”, the Breakthrough Prize, awarded since 2013, recognises achievements in life sciences, fundamental physics and mathematics. Each award is worth $3 million. EU funding through the European Research Council (ERC) provided crucial support to the Event Horizon Telescope. In particular, the EU has made available a grant of €14 million for three of the leading scientists and their teams involved in the discovery. And over the past 15 years some €30 million from the EU’s Horizon 2020 and previous research framework programme supported the development and upgrading of the large telescope infrastructure essential to the success of the project. It was revealed in April this year and marked a paradigm shift in our understanding of black holes. It also confirmed the predictions of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and opened up new lines of enquiry into our universe.