The prestigious, $1 million Kavli Prize in Astrophysics has been co-awarded to Mike Brown, the Caltech professor and astronomer known across the galaxy as the man who killed Pluto.
Brown discovered the Kuiper-belt body at the edge of the solar system more massive than Pluto, resulting in the former planet's demotion to "dwarf planet," and a "revised the definition of our solar system," notes the Pasadena Star-News.
"The un-naming of Pluto got the the attention of the larger public and he's now a well-known person not only in this country but all over the world," said Caltech President Jean-Lou Chameau. "Pluto made his work very understandable beyond the scientific community," he told the newspaper.
Brown will share the prize with co-winners David Jewitt of UCLA and Jane Luu of MIT's Lincoln Laboratory. The three were recognized for advancing the understanding of our planetary system.
King Harald of Norway will present the Kavli prizes on Sept. 4 at a ceremony in Oslo, according to Caltech officials.
Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner