Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Brown, Michael E.
Location California Institute of Technology
Primary Field Geophysics
Secondary Field Astronomy
 Election Citation
Brown's discovery and study of large bodies beyond Neptune has provided fundamental insight into the nature of planets. Their orbital and physical properties, the presence of satellites, frozen volatiles and families of ejecta provide a rich and rapidly growing source of new information on the origin and evolution of planets.
 Research Interests
Brown uses ground and space based telescopes to both conduct wide-field surveys to discover new objects in our solar system and to perform detailed investigation of individual members of our solar system. He was involved in the discovery of most of the largest objects in the Kuiper belt beyond Neptune, including Eris, the most massive dwarf planet, the discovery of which eventually led to the demotion of Pluto, and Sedna, still the only know member of the region of space beyond the Kuiper belt. In addition to discovering these objects, Brown and his group provided the first analyses of the characteristics and properties of this group of bodies, leading to insights into giant impacts in the outer solar system, loss of atmospheres on dwarf planets, radiation processing of volatile ices, and the formation of dwarf planets. In addition he has studied planetary processes on satellites of the giant planets, including global circulation in Titan's atmosphere, the chemistry of Europa's ocean, and the effects of Io's volcanoes on Jupiter's magnetosphere.

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