Michel Mayor

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Michel Mayor in front of the Paranal Observatory (2012).

Michel Gustave Édouard Mayor (born January 12, 1942 in Echallens , Canton of Vaud ) is a Swiss astronomer who works as a professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Geneva . In 1995, together with Didier Queloz , he discovered the first extrasolar planet orbiting a sun-like star ( 51 Pegasi b ), for which both received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2019 .


Michel Mayor studied physics at the University of Lausanne and received his PhD in astronomy at the Geneva Observatory in 1971 . With the exception of stays at the Cambridge Observatory , the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile and the Hawaii Observatory, he remained employed at this institution . From 1989 to 1992 he chaired the Scientific Advisory Board of ESO, from 1988 to 1991 the Commission on Galactic Structure at the International Astronomical Association and from 1990 to 1993 the Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy. He has been a professor at the University of Geneva since 1984 and an honorary professor there when he retired in 2007.


Mayor developed the ELODIE (51pegb), CORALIE and HARPS spectrographs, with which more than 500 exoplanets have been discovered. Since the discovery of 51 Pegasi b , Michel Mayor and his research team have been involved in many other extrasolar planetary discoveries.

He is responsible for the discovery of the first extrasolar planet in orbit around a sun-like star, which is considered a milestone in the history of astronomy and was honored with a Nobel Prize. With the help of his doctoral Didier Queloz he could in 1995 by a high-resolution spectrograph one to 51 Pegasi rotating , Jupiter-like planets detected. The existence of this planet, 51 Pegasi b , was confirmed on October 12, 1995 by US scientists Geoffrey Marcy and R. Paul Butler .

By 2005 he had written more than 300 scientific publications. Since 2013 Thomson Reuters has counted him among the favorites for a Nobel Prize ( Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates ) due to the number of his citations . He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2019.

honors and awards

Web links

Commons : Michel Mayor  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Mayor, Queloz: A Jupiter-mass companion to a solar-type star , Nature, Volume 378, 1995, pp. 355-359; doi : 10.1038 / 378355a0 (abstract)
  2. 2013 Predictions at Thomson Reuters (sciencewatch.com); Retrieved September 25, 2013.