Astrophysicist Michel Mayor Receives Kyoto Prize

Honoured for discovery of first exoplanet found orbiting a Sun-like star

25 June 2015

The Inamori Foundation has announced Michel Mayor as one of the laureates of the 2015 Kyoto Prize. The other laureates are chemist Toyoki Kunitake and choreographer John Neumeier.

Michel Mayor, who is Professor Emeritus at Geneva University in Switzerland and has spent sabbatical semesters with ESO in Chile, was honoured for “answering a fundamental age-old question of astronomy regarding the existence of exoplanets by discovering 51 Pegasi b, the first one orbiting a Sun-like star… and opening an entirely new field of research.

The lasting impact of his discovery is illustrated in recent observations of 51 Pegasi b made using ESO’s HARPS instrument. Michel Mayor was the leader of the group that developed and exploited the power of HARPS, the world’s leading planet-hunting machine.

The Kyoto Prize Presentation Ceremony will be held in Kyoto, Japan, on 10 November 2015. Each laureate will receive a diploma, the Kyoto Prize medal and prize money of 50 million yen (€360 000).



Richard Hook
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
Cell: +49 151 1537 3591

About the Announcement



Professor Michel Mayor, winner of the 2015 Kyoto Prize
Professor Michel Mayor, winner of the 2015 Kyoto Prize