Michel Mayor head shot

Michel Mayor

Professor Emeritus, University of Geneva and 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics Co-recipient

Michel Mayor is a Swiss astrophysicist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Geneva's Department of Astronomy. He formally retired in 2007, but remains active as a researcher at the Observatory of Geneva. He is co-winner of the 2010 Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize, winner of the 2015 Kyoto Prize, and 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics Co-recipient.

Together with Didier Queloz in 1995 he discovered 51 Pegasi b, the first extrasolar planet orbiting a sun-like star.

After earning a Master's degree in Physics at the University of Lausanne in 1966, Mayor obtained his doctorate in Astronomy at the Geneva Observatory in 1971. His thesis included an "Essay on the kinematical properties of stars in the solar vicinity: possible relation with the galactic spiral structure." He studied briefly at the University of Cambridge Institute of Astronomy and spent sabbatical semesters at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile and at the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii.

Latest Planetary Radio Appearances

Nobel Prize Winner Michel Mayor…and More

Astronomer and astrophysicist Michel Mayor has just been awarded the 2019 Nobel prize for physics. Listen to Mat’s 2016 conversation with this revered scientist, the first to discover an exoplanet. The Beresheet mission’s Yoav Landsman recently visited Planetary Society HQ and spent a few minutes catching up with Mat. And Society Editorial Director Jason Davis introduces The Downlink, our weekly digest of planetary news. Bruce Betts takes us to a moon of Uranus to find the melancholy Dane.

Michel Mayor, Discoverer of the First Extrasolar World

Michel Mayor and his team rocked the astronomy world with their 1995 announcement, but this modest man says it was a discovery whose time had come.