Ghez was born in New York City, the daughter of Susanne (Gayton) and Gilbert Ghez. Her father, of Jewish heritage, was born in Rome, Italy, to a family originally from Tunisia and Frankfurt, Germany. Her mother was from an Irish Catholic family from North Attleborough, Massachusetts.
By imaging the Galactic Center at infrared wavelengths, Ghez and her colleagues have been able to peer through heavy dust that blocks visible light, to reveal images of the center of the Milky Way. Thanks to the 10 metres (33 ft) aperture of the W.M. Keck Telescope and the use of adaptive optics to correct for the turbulence of the atmosphere, these images of the Galactic Center are at very high spatial resolution and have made it possible to follow the orbits of stars around the black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). The partial orbits of many stars orbiting the black hole at the Galactic Center have been observed. One of the stars, S2, has made a complete elliptical orbit since detailed observations began in 1995. Several decades more will be required to completely document the orbits of some of these stars. These measurements may provide a test of the theory of general relativity. In October 2012, a second star, S0-102, was identified by her team at UCLA, orbiting the Galactic Center. Using Kepler's third law, Ghez's team used the orbital motion to show that the mass of Sgr A* is 4.1±0.6 million solar masses. Because the Galactic Center where Sgr A* is located, is one hundred times closer than M31 where the next nearest supermassive black hole M31* is, it is one of the best demonstrated cases for a supermassive black hole.
In 2020, Ghez shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Roger Penrose and Reinhard Genzel, for their discoveries relating to black holes. Ghez and Genzel were awarded one half of the prize for their discovery that a supermassive black hole most likely governs the orbits of stars at the center of the Milky Way. Ghez was the fourth woman to win the physics Nobel since its inception, being preceded by Marie Curie (1903), Maria Goeppert Mayer (1963), and Donna Strickland (2018).
Ghez is married to Tom LaTourrette, a geologist and research scientist at the RAND corporation. They have two sons. Ghez is an active swimmer in the Masters Swim Club.
Ghez, A. M.; Duchêne, G.; Matthews, K.; Hornstein, S. D.; Tanner, A.; Larkin, J.; Morris, M.; Becklin, E. E.; S. Salim (January 1, 2003). "The First Measurement of Spectral Lines in a Short-Period Star Bound to the Galaxy's Central Black Hole: A Paradox of Youth". Astrophysical Journal Letters. 586 (2): L127. arXiv:astro-ph/0302299. Bibcode:2003ApJ...586L.127G. doi:10.1086/374804. S2CID11388341.
Ghez, A. M.; Salim, S.; Weinberg, N. N.; Lu, J. R.; Do, T.; Dunn, J. K.; Matthews, K.; Morris, M. R.; Yelda, S. (January 1, 2008). "Measuring Distance and Properties of the Milky Way's Central Supermassive Black Hole with Stellar Orbits". Astrophysical Journal. 689 (2): 1044–1062. arXiv:0808.2870. Bibcode:2008ApJ...689.1044G. doi:10.1086/592738. S2CID18335611.
Ghez, Andrea Mia; Cohen, Judith Love (2006). You Can Be a Woman Astronomer. Cascade Pass. ISBN978-1-880599-78-5.
^Ghez, A. M.; Salim, S.; Weinberg, N. N.; Lu, J. R.; Do, T.; Dunn, J. K.; Matthews, K.; Morris, M.; Yelda, S.; Becklin, E. E.; Kremenek, T.; Milosavljevic, M.; Naiman, J. (December 20, 2008). "Measuring Distance and Properties of the Milky Way's Central Supermassive Black Hole with Stellar Orbits". The Astrophysical Journal. 689 (2): 1044–1062. arXiv:0808.2870. Bibcode:2008ApJ...689.1044G. doi:10.1086/592738. S2CID18335611.