Didier Queloz is presently a Professor of Physics at Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory, and is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He leads the Cambridge Exoplanet Research Centre. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2019 along with his mentor Michel G. E. Mayor by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his contribution to discovering exo planets.
As a student of Michel G.E. Mayor, Queloz was fascinated with the study of planets outside our solar system. His discovery has prompted a revolution where researchers from across the world have now been concentrating their efforts on discovering newer exo-planets. This revolution has culminated in the discovery of over 1900 exo planets, about a tenth of which have been found by Queloz himself. These exo planets are essentially a term to describe planets that orbit a star other than our Sun.
His research was based on the premise that planets and stars both orbit round their common centre of mass. If a planet is sufficiently large in comparison to its star, then it will prompt the star to wobble just a bit. These wobbles are detected by him through the change in the light emitted by the star. By evaluating the change in the light emitted by the star, the scientist can appropriately identify the size of the planet as well as its distance from the star.
Apart from his work with his mentor G. E. Mayor, he has also taken an active part in the Corot Mission, whereby he undertook the task to detect planet transits from space. Through his work, he has observed the first transit detection of a rocky planet (Corot-7b)
New world are being discovered as a result of his contribution to this field. Through the creation and development of his precise spectrographs, a considerable improvement has been made in the precision of the Doppler technique, by virtue of which astrophysicists can now detect faster velocities. His research has forced astronomers to speculate that signs of life and chemicals could be found in some of these exo planets. Queloz has enabled and prompted us to answer the question as to whether we’re truly alone in this universe or whether these exo planets host some form of life.