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Home » The Search for Planet 9: Dr. Renu Malhotra at TEDxPortland (Transcript)

The Search for Planet 9: Dr. Renu Malhotra at TEDxPortland (Transcript)

Dr. Renu Malhotra at TEDxPortland

Full transcript of planetary scientist Dr. Renu Malhotra’s TEDx Talk: The Search for Planet 9 at TEDxPortland conference.

Notable quote from this talk: 

“Ancient civilizations had a very simple concept of the cosmos. So, we live on Earth, the Sun and the Moon rule the sky and our daily lives, and the afterlife is in heaven above or hell below. Very simple.” 


Dr. Renu Malhotra – Planetary scientist 

Thank you, David. Thank you everybody for being here. Thank you to everybody who’s tuned in.

So, let me get started. I have a limited amount of time, the clock’s running. The solar system is old, we have little time here.

So I’m a planetary dynamicist. That’s a mouthful and a pretty esoteric profession.

But as a planetary dynamicist, I’m especially tuned to two mathematical things about planets: the shapes of their orbits and their period ratios. So I like numbers.

So about two years ago, when astronomers started noticing some peculiar patterns in the Kuiper Belt, this belt of small planets beyond Neptune – we call them minor planets or Kuiper Belt objects – I tuned into their orbit shapes and their period ratios .

And I stumbled onto a new idea that may help us discover a new planet in the distant solar system. Searching for a distant planet in the solar system is a story about human imagination and curiosity, and increasing intellectual and technological sophistication.

It’s also about being human, about our curiosity about the universe, about seeking knowledge of our place in the cosmos.

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