Diana Solano-Oropeza

Astronomy & Space Sciences


Hi, I’m Diana! I use any pronouns (they/he/she, ranked in order of preference). I’m a first-year grad student studying astronomy at Cornell. My main research interests are in exoplanets, stars, and habitability, although it would be nice to try to meet an alien. Historically, I’ve used big datasets such as those collected by TESS and Gaia, statistics, and Monte Carlo methods to try to answer questions around planetary architecture and formation, but I’m constantly expanding my toolbox and my horizons. I’m also an NSF GRFP fellow.


I grew up in New York City (Queens!!!), and went to high school at the Bronx High School of Science. Before entering college, I interned at the American Museum of Natural History, working with Dr. Nathan Leigh to better understand the initial conditions of gravitationally chaotic three-body star simulations. I then moved to Philadelphia to attend Drexel University for undergrad, where I majored in physics with an astrophysics concentration and minored in sociology. There, I produced visualizations of early stellar formation simulations intended to resemble real observations as a means of assessing simulation codes, under Dr. Stephen McMillan’s supervision. For my senior thesis, I made the jump with information science professor Dr. Jake Ryland Williams into the intersection of data science, statistical physics, and computational linguistics. I broke down tens of thousands of digitized books and corrupted them in ways that would disgust the average book-lover to determine where a linguistic law held true, where it broke down, and why. I switched back to astrophysics after graduation, when I entered Columbia University’s Bridge to the PhD in STEM program to work with Dr. David Kipping. Over two years, I led a massive (still ongoing) project to estimate the minimum eccentricities of hundreds of TESS-detected exoplanets orbiting M-dwarfs without radial velocity measurements, via Bayesian analysis.

When I’m not researching or doing homework, I’m usually writing stories, practicing Muay Thai, or playing video games like Fortnite and Kingdom Hearts. I also love talking about science, and drawing from pop culture to do so.