Konstantin Batygin

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Konstantin Batygin at Caltech in 2016

Konstantin Batygin (Russian: Константи́н Юрьевич Батыгин) is a Russian-American astronomer and Assistant Professor of Planetary Sciences at Caltech.[1] He is on the 2015 Forbes list of 30 scientists under 30 who are changing the world,[2] and has been named one of the "brilliant 10" people of 2016 by Popular Science magazine.[3]

Early life[edit]

Konstantin Batygin was born in Moscow, Soviet Union.[4] His father, Yuri Konstantinovich Batygin, worked as an accelerator physicist in the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute until 1994, when he moved along with his wife Galina[5] and their family to Wakō, Japan, and began working at the particle accelerator facility in RIKEN.[4] There, Konstantin graduated from a public Japanese elementary school, later on attending a Russian embassy-based school and studying the martial art Gōjū-ryū.[4]

In late 1999, at age 13,[2] Konstantin Batygin moved to Morgan Hill, California[6] along with his family. Upon graduating from high school, he chose to attend the University of California, Santa Cruz for the beach and the chance to keep playing in his rock band, The Seventh Season.[4][7] During his sophomore year as an undergraduate at the university, he met Gregory P. Laughlin at a departmental party, and afterwards they began working together on the Solar System’s long-term dynamical evolution.[4] In June 2008, he graduated from UCSC with a bachelor's degree in astrophysics,[6] and won the Loren Steck Award for his thesis, "The Dynamical Stability of the Solar System".[5] Batygin subsequently went on to pursue graduate studies at Caltech, obtaining a Ph.D. in Planetary Science in 2012.


Konstantin Batygin's research is primarily aimed at understanding the formation and evolution of planetary systems. In 2010, Konstantin Batygin and David J. Stevenson published a calculation,[8] which showed that hot Jupiters can become inflated as a consequence of Ohmic dissipation of electrical currents induced through an interaction between ionized atmospheric winds and the planetary magnetic field. In 2012, Batygin demonstrated that misalignments between stellar spin-axes and planetary orbits can arise from gravitational perturbations exerted onto protoplanetary disks by primordial companions stars.[9][10] In 2015, Batygin and Laughlin hypothesized that the Solar System once possessed a population of short-period planets that were destroyed by Jupiter's migration through the solar nebula.[11] In January 2016, Konstantin Batygin and Michael E. Brown proposed the existence of a ninth planet in the Solar System.[7] In 2018, Batygin showed that the evolution of astrophysical disks can be modeled with the Schrödinger equation - a cornerstone of quantum mechanics[12], a concept that strongly resembles some aspects of the theory known as Scale Relativity.


  1. ^ Konstantin Batygin. "Home". Gps.caltech.edu. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Sarah Hedgecock (January 5, 2015). "30 Under 30: Young Scientists Who Are Changing The World". Forbes. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  3. ^ "The Man Whose Models Revealed A Possible Ninth Planet In Our Solar System". Retrieved 2016-09-07. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Konstantin Batygin. "About Me". Gps.caltech.edu. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Undergraduate awards ceremony caps annual Student Achievement Week". University of California Santa Cruz. June 9, 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Tim Stephens (June 9, 2008). "Study by UCSC undergrad shows a solar system gone wild". University of California Santa Cruz. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Eric Hand (20 January 2016). "Astronomers say a Neptune-sized planet lurks beyond Pluto". Science. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  8. ^ Batygin, Konstantin; Stevenson, David J. (2010-01-01). "Inflating Hot Jupiters with Ohmic Dissipation". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 714 (2): L238. arXiv:1002.3650Freely accessible. Bibcode:2010ApJ...714L.238B. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/714/2/L238. ISSN 2041-8205. 
  9. ^ "Did a lost star knock the Earth off its orbit? New theory to explain why our planet circles the sun at an angle to the solar equator". Retrieved 2016-08-02. 
  10. ^ Batygin, Konstantin. "A primordial origin for misalignments between stellar spin axes and planetary orbits". Nature. 491 (7424): 418–420. arXiv:1304.5166Freely accessible. Bibcode:2012Natur.491..418B. doi:10.1038/nature11560. PMID 23151584. 
  11. ^ "Jupiter might have wrecked the first version of our solar system". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-02. 
  12. ^ Mandelbaum, Ryan F. "Fundamental Equation of Quantum Physics Also Describes Rings and Disks in Space". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2018-03-05. 

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