Alumna helps bring astronomical wonders down to Earth
Think you know the biggest, coldest, most amazing thing in space? You’ll have to convince Yvette Cendes ’09, MS ’11, PhD. She’s the Astronomy Editor for the 2023 edition of Guinness World Records.
That’s not the only reason she’s making waves in the field of astrophysics. In November, Cendes was named one of 25 Rising Stars in Astronomy by Astronomy Magazine, which cited her expertise with black holes and her influence on popular culture.
Cendes, a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, studies transient radio signals like tidal disruption events, or TDEs–the emission of light and radiation from a star as its devoured by a supermassive black hole.
She’s also a freelance science writer who’s busy on social media enlightening the public to astronomical facts and debunking myths and mistruths.
“When she’s not scouring the heavens, this radio-wave wrangler might be found explaining astronomy on Reddit,” the magazine reported.
Cendes earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from the College of Arts and Sciences and in 2020 was awarded her doctorate in astronomy by Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Her latest project focuses on a collection of TDEs detected a few years ago that are suddenly emitting radio signals, to the bafflement of astronomers. Then there’s the gig with Guinness, the world’s most popular reference book for amazing facts, fetes and natural wonders.
She told her legion of followers on Reddit that she expects to have fun as astronomy editor. “Also, it’s just neat to have street cred with all the 10 year olds of the world now!”