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Richard (Rick) P. Binzel is a Professor of Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the inventor of the Torino Scale, a method for categorizing the impact hazard associated with near-Earth objects (NEOs) such as asteroids and comets.

Asteroids discovered: 3
11868 Kleinrichert October 2, 1989
13014 Hasslacher November 17, 1987
(29196) 1990 YY December 19, 1990

Binzel was awarded the H. C. Urey Prize by the American Astronomical Society in 1991. He also was awarded a MacVicar Faculty Fellowship[1] for teaching excellence at MIT in 1994.

Binzel was on the Planet Definition Committee[2] that developed the proposal to the International Astronomical Union's meeting in Prague in 2006 on whether Pluto should be considered a planet. Their proposal was revised during the meeting and Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet.


  1. ^ "Four more named MacVicar Fellows", MIT, 1994-02-09. 
  2. ^ Robert Roy Britt (2006-08-14). Pluto's Fate to be Decided by 'Scientific and Simple' Planet Definition.


Astronomy Encyclopedia

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