Michael Edward Phelps (born August 24, 1939) is a professor and an American biophysicist. He is known for being one of the fathers of positron emission tomography (PET). Phelps was born in 1939 in Cleveland, Ohio. He spent his early life as a boxer. However, at age 19, he was severely injured in a car crash, leaving him in a coma for several days and effectively ending his boxing career. Phelps went on to earn his B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics from Western Washington University in 1965, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis, in 1970. He joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine in 1970. From 1975-1976, Phelps was a member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1976, he moved to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA where he is the Norton Simon Professor & Chairman of the Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology and Director of two institutes, the Institute for Molecular Medicine and the Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging. He has been awarded some of science's highest honors: the Massry Prize from the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California in 2007; an Enrico Fermi Award and an appointment to the National Academy of Science.
Michael Phelps currently resides in Los Angeles with wife, Dr. Patricia Phelps, who is a professor of Physiological Sciences at UCLA. They have two children: Patrick Phelps and Katy Phelps.