"My graduate fellowship at Caltech gave me the freedom to explore research leads that I wouldn't have otherwise. I was only limited by my ideas."
Konstantin Batygin (MS '10, PhD '12)
the assistant professor of planetary science
who recently co-discovered evidence for Planet Nine
Dear Caltech Associates members,
After receiving an acceptance letter from the one and only Mike Brown, [Caltech's Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy], I visited the campus for a day and immediately knew this was where I wanted to go to graduate school.
I was fortunate to receive a graduate fellowship. I had the freedom to explore research leads that I wouldn't have otherwise. I was only limited by my ideas. I grew up in Russia and saw firsthand my parents' struggle to leave when the Soviet Union collapsed. My father was a physicist, and my mother a doctor. They both rebuilt their careers through sheer drive and effort, and to create a better life for me and my siblings.
I never felt so much at home as I did—and do—at Caltech. This place is obsessed with quality, and so genuinely passionate about solving problems. Caltech is free of the struggles my parents dealt with. So I wanted to take this incredible opportunity, work hard, and make a difference. It was a truly transformative time in my life.
When I was offered an assistant professor position at Caltech my dream came true. Collaborating with Mike led to exciting results that I could never have imagined. As you may know, as of this year we have substantial evidence for a new planet in our solar system that we are calling Planet Nine.
Today, working with my own graduate students, I tell them what Mike told me: "Do really good science and write lots of papers." Graduate school is not the time to worry about paying the bills. A graduate fellowship at Caltech offers students the opportunity to push the boundaries of exploration.
I hope you will consider investing in the Caltech Associates Endowed Graduate Fellowship and provide future graduate students the freedom to discover.
Assistant Professor of Planetary Science, Caltech
Make an Online Gift to the Caltech Associates Endowed Graduate Fellowship Now
(Images from left to right: Konstantin Batygin with his graduate students Elizabeth Bailey and Chris Spalding; Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin, who co-discovered evidence for Planet Nine; Planet Nine orbit plots.)