Julien de Wit from Verviers elected Belgian innovator of the year


The famous American magazine MIT Technology Review has named researcher Julien de Wit as "Belgian innovator of the year". This prize rewards his work on exoplanets, which are planets beyond our own solar system Julien de Wit helped discover the seven planets outside our solar system that could support life.

Born 29 years ago in Verviers, Julien de Wit studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Liège before becoming involved in planetary science. He is currently a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he develops software to process the data that is supplied by telescopes and which characterises the exoplanets.

As a member of the team of astronomers led by Michaël Gillon, Julien de Wit has also played a major role in the recent discovery of four exoplanets around the ultra-cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. These rocky planets are of a similar size to Earth and it is likely that they could support life.

As Belgian Innovator of the year, the researcher receives another prize, that of young European innovator of the year, to be awarded by the MIT Technology Review in September.