Ellen M. Price University of Chicago Department of the Geophysical Sciences

I am an astrophysics PhD who graduated from Harvard University in May 2021. I joined University of Chicago's geophysical sciences department as a 51 Pegasi b Postdoctoral Fellow in September 2021. My primary supervisor is Prof. Fred Ciesla; I also collaborate with Prof. Leslie Rogers (University of Chicago) and Dr. Karen Willacy (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

While at Harvard, I worked with Prof. Karin Öberg (CfA) and Prof. Ilse Cleeves (University of Virginia) on modeling protoplanetary disk chemistry and physics. I also worked with Prof. Leslie Rogers on rocky planet interior structure modeling. I completed my undergraduate work at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, where I worked with Prof. John Johnson and Dr. Leslie Rogers on exoplanet statistics. I have presented my work at American Astronmical Society meetings, the Kepler Science Conference II, and the International Astronomical Union's Astrochemistry VII meeting.

I defended my thesis on May 3, 2021, officially becoming a Doctor of Philosophy! If you are interested in an overview of my graduate-level work, you can access the following resources:

Disk modeling

Many existing disk models do not take into account the changing physical conditions of the disk as material accretes towards the star. We seek to develop a self-consistent disk model that couples chemistry and dynamics in an efficient way.

Planet interiors

Ultra-short-period, rocky planets can be pulled into non-spherical shapes by the extreme gravity from their host stars. We seek to model these shapes — and the resulting transit light curves — numerically.


Simple exoplanet transit models can be enhanced by taking into account the finite integration time of observations using Fisher information matrix analysis. Errors on each parameter are amplified in a predictible way, which can aid in estimating optimal exposure times.


You can find a work-in-progress app for simulating transit light curves and modifying their parameters here. Visualizations like this one can be used to educate the public about astrophysics research.


I have been a mentor to undergraduates through Harvard's WiSTEM program, which connects graduate and undergraduate women in STEM fields for one-on-one mentoring relationships. I have also led two summer undergraduate research projects at UChicago.

Got questions?

I'm happy to answer questions about my research, my experiences in graduate school, or life as a woman in astrophysics. Just send me an e-mail!

© Ellen M. Price, 2024. Powered by Foundation for Sites 6, CodeIgniter 4, and Amazon Web Services Lightsail. Original cover image captured by NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.