Renu Malhotra

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Renu Malhotra
Born 1961 (age 56–57)
New Delhi, India
Known for Planet migration in the Solar system

Renu Malhotra (born 1961) is an American planetary scientist known for using the orbital resonance between Pluto and Neptune to infer large-scale orbital migration of the giant planets and to predict the existence of Plutinos in resonance with Neptune. The asteroid 6698 Malhotra was named for her on 14 December 1997 (M.P.C. 31025).[1][2] She is credited by the Minor Planet Center with the co-discovery of (455206) 2001 FE193, a trans-Neptunian object in the Kuiper belt.

Early life and career[edit]

Minor planets discovered: 1 [3]
(455206) 2001 FE193 27 March 2001 MPC

Renu Malhotra was born in New Delhi in 1961. Her father was an aircraft engineer at Indian Airlines. Her family moved to Hyderabad when she was a child.[4] She attended the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, graduating with a master's degree in physics in 1983. She attended Cornell University, where she was introduced to non-linear dynamics by Mitchell Feigenbaum.[5] She received her Ph.D. in physics from the university in 1988; her Ph.D. advisor was Stanley F. Dermott. With the help of Peter Goldreich who had read her paper on the moons of Uranus, she obtained a postdoctoral research position at California Institute of Technology. She then worked for nine years at Lunar and Planetary Institute, where she completed work on Pluto's orbital resonance and predicted the resonant structure of the Kuiper Belt.[5] Malhotra is currently a Professor at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.[6]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 1997 Harold C. Urey Prize[5]
  • 2006 Outstanding Alumnus Award from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi[7]
  • 2010 Galileo Circle Fellow, University of Arizona
  • 2015 American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 2015 National Academy of Sciences
  • 2016 Louise Foucar Marshall Science Research Professor
  • 2016 Regents' Professor, University of Arizona


  1. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (6698) Malhotra. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 550. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  2. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 20 August 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  4. ^ John Davies (2001). Beyond Pluto: Exploring the Outer Limits of the Solar System. Cambridge University Press. p. 109. ISBN 1139428772.
  5. ^ a b c Govert Schilling (2009). New Worlds and the Fate of Pluto. Springer Publishing. pp. 166–72. ISBN 0387778055.
  6. ^ David Levy (ed.). The Scientific American Book of the Cosmos. Macmillan. p. 398. ISBN 0312254539.
  7. ^ "Take charge, Premji tells students". 13 August 2006.