Malena is one of the youngest researchers to be offered a position as assistant professor at Yale. Her contributions have brought the field closer to confirming the existence of unseen distant planets and smaller objects.
Malena Rice is a 51 Pegasi b Postdoctoral Fellow at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, as well as an incoming Assistant Professor in the Yale Astronomy Department. She received her PhD in Astronomy from Yale in 2022 and was offered a position as an Assistant Professor at Yale at the age of 26.
Malena is excited about the study of the outer solar system because it is such a nearby yet evasive and mysterious frontier. She applies theory, observation, and computational techniques in her investigations of the outer solar system and its vast potential for astronomical discovery, including Planet Nine, an icy world thought to be hiding beyond Neptune. Her contributions have brought the field closer to confirming the existence of unseen distant planets and smaller objects - building blocks that could hold the secrets to planetary system beginnings.
Unlike some of her colleagues, Malena wanted to become a doctor her entire life. But she was the type of person who kept asking “why” and was really drawn towards the very fundamental questions of understanding why various aspects of our Universe look and behave the way that they do. Outside the office, you will likely find her visiting an art gallery or reading about art while sipping her favourite cup of coffee.