Look at the Stars: The Fascinating Universe of Astrophysicist Reina Reyes
Like many of us, Reina Reyes dreamt of becoming an astronaut when she was a child—she read pile upon pile of books, encyclopaedias, and magazines that made her feel like she was exploring the universe and its mysteries. “I devoured books; there was no Internet then,” she recalls. “I was just immensely fascinated by outer space—the planets, stars, galaxies, and black holes—like any other child.” Unlike most of us, however, Reina was able to pursue her dream. She didn’t become an astronaut—“it was not realistic because of the height limit,” she says—but she delved into space science just the same and became an astrophysicist. She has been studying the universe using both physics and chemistry in astronomy, allowing humankind to have a better understanding of the birth, life, and death of planets, stars, black holes, galaxies, and more.
Reina giving a lecture titled "The Birth and Death of the Milky Way" in Las Vegas and at Princeton University during her doctorate studies.
An Astronomer’s Journey
Reina graduated valedictorian at Philippine Science High School in 2001 and summa cum laude in BS Physics at the Ateneo de Manila University in 2005. She went straight to graduate school in Italy to study galaxies at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, and then on to the United States where she got her
Written in the Stars
Reina was only 26 when the world
Later on, after what seemed to be an endless period of research, she also helped expand the scientific world’s knowledge about the existence of a mysterious force called Dark Energy, which is
The galaxy cluster Abell 1689, with the mass distribution of the dark matter in the gravitational lens overlaid (in purple)
After eight years of living abroad, Reina decided it was time to come home to the Philippines, where she could carry on her work as a data scientist and astrophysicist while helping young Filipinos achieve dreams of becoming scientists. She also runs a website called pinoyscientists.com, which features Filipino scientists every week. “I want young people interested in science to know that this is a career they can pursue and they can become scientists themselves. Our tagline is ‘Yes, we exist!’”
“In hindsight, I
An artist's concept that appeared on the Feb. 23,
2017 cover of the journal Nature announcing that the TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it.
This is where Reina hopes to create change. She currently works as a data science consultant for companies and teaches data
Her celestial dreams remain countless and her search for answers, unceasing. “Einstein once said, ‘the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible,’” she says. “I think it will surprise many to know how much we do know about the Universe. On the flip side, I think it is also