Natalie Batalha

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Natalie Batalha
Natalie Batalha.jpg
Natalie Batalha
BornMay 14th, 1966
Alma materUC Santa Cruz (Ph.D.)
University of California, Berkeley (Bachelor's)
Known forKepler Mission
Scientific career
InstitutionsUC Santa Cruz

Natalie M. Batalha is professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. Previously she was a research astronomer in the Space Sciences Division of NASA Ames Research Center and held the position of Co-Investigator and Kepler Mission Scientist on the Kepler Mission, the first mission capable of finding Earth-size planets around other stars.[1][2][3]


Batalha began her career as a stellar spectroscopist, studying sun-like stars. She holds a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, a doctorate in astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[2]


In 1997, William Borucki added Batalha to the science team and she started work on transit photometry. She has been involved with the Kepler Mission since the design and funding, and as one of the original Co-Investigators was responsible for the selection of the more than 150,000 stars monitored by the telescope. She now works closely with team members at Ames Research Center to identify viable planets from the data of the Kepler mission. She led the analysis that yielded the discovery in 2011 of Kepler 10b, the first confirmed rocky planet outside our solar system.[4]


In 2017, Batalha and two other exoplanet scientists were named to Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World.[5] In the same year, Batalha won Smithsonian Magazine's American Ingenuity Award in Physical Sciences.[6]

She was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019[7] and a Legacy Fellow of the American Astronomical Society in 2020. [8]


  1. ^ "Mission Scientist: Natalie Batalha". NASA. 2012-03-12. Archived from the original on September 15, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Natalie Batalha". Space Science and Astrobiology at Ames. NASA. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015.
  3. ^ "Natalie Batalha". Kepler. NASA: Ames Research Center. Archived from the original on September 21, 2015.
  4. ^ Lemonick, Michael D (2012). Mirror Earth : the search for our planet's twin. New York: Walker. ISBN 978-0-8027-7900-7. LCCN 2012009787. OCLC 879630400. OL 25298995M.
  5. ^ Stern, Alan. "Natalie Batalha, Guillem Anglada-Escudé and Michaël Gillon". The World’s 100 Most Influential People. Time. Archived from the original on 2 May 2017.
  6. ^ "2017 American Ingenuity Award Winners". Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  7. ^ "New 2019 Academy Members Announced". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. April 17, 2019.
  8. ^ "AAS Fellows". AAS. Retrieved 27 September 2020.