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.