October Club Meeting & Lecture

Friday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m.
David Pecker Conference Room, Willcox Hall, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY
or on-line via ZOOM

A Synthesized View of Planetary Systems
Malena Rice, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A tremendous diversity of exoplanets and protoplanetary disks has been discovered over the past three decades, offering an unprecedented lens into the range of formation pathways available for planetary systems. In parallel, studies of the solar system have revealed tantalizing, complementary constraints with exquisite detail. I will describe how, taken in conjunction, these two lines of evidence can be combined to advance our current understanding of planetary systems.

Drawing from the relationship between stars, planets, and neighboring minor planets, I will focus on the interface between subfields. I will discuss how minor planets, including interstellar objects and distant solar system bodies, provide evidence for hidden, wide-orbiting planetary perturbers in both the solar system and extrasolar systems. I will also describe a novel algorithm to directly search for the most distant solar system objects using the TESS dataset. Then, I will highlight how observational constraints on planetary system architectures and compositions provide complementary information regarding the key planet formation pathways. I will conclude with the prospects for future constraints on planetary system evolutio

Malena Rice is a 51 Pegasi b Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where her research focuses on planetary system dynamics. Originally from Simi Valley, California, she earned her Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from UC Berkeley in 2017 and her M.S. (2020), M.Phil. (2020), and PhD (2022) in Astronomy at Yale University. Outside of her degree work, Malena has also conducted research at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and at the University College London. Malena is passionate about STEM education and accessibility, and she regularly leads both public outreach events and graduate-level teaching workshops. In her free time, she enjoys playing the flute and piano, visiting art galleries, reading, traveling, and spending time outdoors.