David Jewitt was born in the United Kingdom in 1958 and studied astronomy at University College London. In 1979, he began post-graduate work at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, winning a doctorate in 1983. His first job as an assistant professor began the same year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and it was there that he began his Slow-Moving Objects (SMO) survey in collaboration with Jane Luu that would eventually lead to the discovery of the Kuiper Belt. In 1988, during the course of the SMO survey, Jewitt moved to the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii as an associate professor. He continued to work there and at the university's Department of Physics and Astronomy until 2009, when he moved to the University of California, Los Angeles, as a professor in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences. In 2011, Jewitt was appointed director of UCLA's Institute for Planets and Exoplanets. In 1996, Jewitt was named Hawaii Scientist of the Year and awarded a NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement ...
Jane Luu was born in South Vietnam in 1963. When the North Vietnamese Army arrived in Saigon in 1975, Luu and her family had to flee the country because her father had been an interpreter for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Arriving in the United States as refugees, the Luus ended up with relatives in Kentucky. Luu excelled at science in school and won a scholarship to study physics at Stanford University. Graduating in 1984, she spent the summer before starting post-graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Inspired by the pictures of planets on the walls taken by the Voyager probes, she resolved to study planetary astronomy. After Berkeley, she moved to the Massachusetts Institute for Technology and it was there, while working on her doctorate, that she teamed up with David Jewitt on the Slow-Moving Objects survey of the outer solar system. Luu won her doctorate in 1990, and then moved on to a job at Harvard University's Center for Astrophysics and ...
Michael Edwards Brown was born in Alabama in 1965 and launched his career with an honorable mention in his fifth-grade science fair. He studied physics at Princeton University and went on to graduate studies in astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, earning his PhD in 1994. A couple of post-doctoral fellowships eventually led him to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in 1996, and it was there that he carried out his search for the tenth planet. He is now the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy at Caltech. Brown was awarded the Urey Prize by the American Astronomical Association's Division of Planetary Sciences in 2001 and Caltech's Richard P. Feynman Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2007. Following the discovery of Eris and the subsequent media attention, Time Magazine named Brown one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2006. Brown is author of the book, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming.
Mildred S. Dresselhaus was born to impoverished Polish immigrants in the Bronx, New York in 1930, at the start of the Great Depression. Her family was on welfare, and her first school was far from a center of excellence.
Cornelia Isabella Bargmann was born in 1961 in Virginia and raised in Athens, Georgia, where she attended the University of Georgia. She then went north to study cancer-signalling genes and cloned the oncogene HER2, a key factor in breast cancer, in the laboratory of Robert Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Winfried Denk was born in 1957 in Munich. From 1978 to 1981, he studied physics as an undergraduate at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, followed by further studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, where he was awarded a diploma in physics in 1984.
Ann Martin Graybiel was born in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts in 1942. Her father, Ashton Graybiel, was a prominent medical doctor and researcher who investigated the effects of weightlessness and acceleration in astronauts and helped to prepare them for space motion sickness.