Nikku Madhusudhan


University Lecturer in Astrophysics

Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, UK


Tel: +44 1223 655612, +44 7804 419140

Research Interests

Theoretical modeling and observational characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres

Radiative transfer, planetary chemistry, and atmospheric retrieval methods for exoplanets

Internal structure modeling of super-Earths, mass-radius relations, and geophysical processes

Constraints on exoplanetary formation mechanisms using their atmospheric chemical abundances

Optimal planning of observations with large facilities to characterize exoplanetary atmospheres

Education: PhD (MIT, USA, 2009), MS (MIT, USA, 2004), B. Tech (IIT-BHU, India, 2002)


Nov 2013 - Present: University Lecturer in Astrophysics (University of Cambridge, UK)                

Jan 2012 - Oct 2013: YCAA Prize Postdoctoral Fellow (Yale University, USA)

Sep 2010 - Dec 2011: Postdoctoral researcher (Princeton University, USA)

Aug 2009 - Aug 2010: Postdoctoral researcher (MIT, USA)

Major Research Results:

First thermal map of a super-Earth

B-O. Demory, M. Gillon, J. de Wit, N. Madhusudhan, et al., 2016, Nature, 532, 207

First spectroscopic inference of a thermal inversion in a hot Jupiter

K. Haynes, A. M. Mandell, N. Madhusudhan, et al., 2015, ApJ, 806, 2, 146

First framework for chemical constraints on hot Jupiter migration

Madhusudhan, Amin, & Kennedy 2014, The Astrophysical Journal, 794, L12

High-precision measurements of H2O in exoplanetary atmospheres

Madhusudhan, Crouzet, McCullough, & Deming 2014, The Astrophysical Journal, 791, L9

Press releases: NASA/Hubble, Univ. Cambridge

First inference of a possible carbon-rich super-Earth

Madhusudhan et al. 2012, The Astrophysical Journal, 759, L40

Press release: Yale Univ.

A two-dimensional classification scheme for exoplanetary atmospheres

Madhusudhan 2012, The Astrophysical Journal, 758,  36

An essay on the article can be read on astrobites

First inference of a carbon-rich planetary atmosphere   

Madhusudhan et al. 2011, Nature, 469, 64

Press releases: MIT, NASA/Spitzer

Carbon-rich giant planets: Atmospheric properties and possible formation scenarios.

Madhusudhan et al. 2011, The Astrophysical Journal, 743, 191

Press articles: TIME and PAW.

First detection of non-equilibrium chemistry and high metallicity in an exoplanetary atmosphere

Stevenson et al. 2010, Nature, 464, 1161; Madhusudhan & Seager, 2011, The Astrophysical J., 729, 41

Press releases: MIT, NASA/Spitzer

First statistical retrieval method for exoplanetary atmospheres

Madhusudhan & Seager, 2009, The Astrophysical Journal, 707, 24

The so-called “Million Model Approach” to atmospheric modeling of exoplanets.

For a full listing of results from my research, please see Research and Publications pages

Recent Awards/Honors:

2014 Vainu Bappu Gold Medal for contributions to astrophysics, Astronomical Society of India

2011 YCAA Prize Fellowship, Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Yale University, USA