On 6 October 1995, Michel Mayor, Professor at the Observatory of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Geneva, and his doctoral student Didier Queloz revolutionized the world of astrophysics by announcing the discovery of the first planet outside the solar system. Named 51 Pegasi b, this very first exoplanet was a revolution in the astrophysics community. Since this first discovery, research has continued and now some 4,000 exoplanets have been discovered.
Their work is now being awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics. They share this remarkable distinction with James Peebles, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University in the United States.
"This discovery is the most exciting of our entire career, and to be awarded a Nobel Prize is simply extraordinary," say Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz.
A significant recognition for research in Geneva
"It is a fantastic recognition of the work accomplished by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz ; it is a testament to the quality of their scientific approach, their rigorous approach but also their creativity and their ability to think - and to research - outside the marked paths that is at the source of the greatest discoveries. This is also great news for our University, for Geneva and for the whole of Switzerland, which is seeing the quality of its research recognized at the highest level," says Yves Flückiger, the rector of the University of Geneva.