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Lifetime achievement Geneva astrophysicist honoured in Japan

Astrophysicist Michel Mayor was the first to find an exoplanet

(Keystone)

Swiss astrophysicist Michel Mayor has received the prestigious Kyoto Prize in Japan. It was 20 years ago that the University of Geneva professor discovered the first exoplanet. 

“Mayor answered a fundamental age-old question of astronomy regarding the existence of exoplanets by discovering the first one orbiting a Sun–like star. His continuing contributions have revealed the diversity of exoplanets, opening an entirely new field of research,” stated the Inamori Foundationexternal link, which celebrates the lifetime achievements of key figures in the fields of culture and science. 

Now 73 and professor emeritus, Mayor discovered the planet 51 Pegasi b in 1995, together with Didier Queloz, who was a graduate student at the time. The Inamori Foundation praised Mayor’s “continuous refinement and improvement of observation technology, including the development of a series of spectrographs”. 

The award ceremony took place in the old Japanese imperial city of Kyoto on Tuesday. Japanese chemist Toyoki Kunitake and German choreographer John Neumeier also received the prize, which is worth €360,000 (CHF388,000).

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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