Renu Malhotra

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Renu Malhotra
Born 1961
New Delhi, India
Known for Planet migration in the Solar system

Renu Malhotra is an American planetary scientist of Indian origin 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 is named for her.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[3] After leaving the Institute, Malhotra went to work as a Professor of Solar System Dynamics at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.[4]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 1997 Harold C. Urey Prize[3]
  • 2006 Outstanding Alumnus Award from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi[5]
  • 2010 Galileo Circle Fellow, University of Arizona
  • 2015 American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 2015 National Academy of Sciences


  1. ^ John Davies (2001). Beyond Pluto: Exploring the Outer Limits of the Solar System. Cambridge University Press. p. 219. ISBN 1139428772. 
  2. ^ John Davies (2001). Beyond Pluto: Exploring the Outer Limits of the Solar System. Cambridge University Press. p. 109. ISBN 1139428772. 
  3. ^ a b c Govert Schilling (2009). New Worlds and the Fate of Pluto. Springer Publishing. pp. 166–72. ISBN 0387778055. 
  4. ^ David Levy (ed.). The Scientific American Book of the Cosmos. Macmillan. p. 398. ISBN 0312254539. 
  5. ^ "Take charge, Premji tells students". August 13, 2006.