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

I am an astrophysics PhD who recently graduated from Harvard University. I joined University of Chicago's geophysical sciences department as a 51 Pegasi b Postdoctoral Fellow in September 2021. My supervisor is Prof. Fred Ciesla.

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 (University of Chicago) 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.

Planet Pac-Man

You can find a work-in-progress game about planet formation here. Eventually, this will be part of an outreach effort to teach the public about disks and planet formation.


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 am also a graduate peer mentor.

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!

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