Tom Rice

Tom Rice

Research Interests

Tom Rice is an astronomer and educator at Columbia University. Tom’s research interests center on star and planet formation, with an emphasis on observations in the infrared and radio. Tom’s PhD dissertation addressed what we know about how the ingredients necessary for life, especially nitrogen and carbon, become part of terrestrial worlds like the Earth during planet formation. In his teaching, Tom works to make science education engaging and accessible to students from all backgrounds and interests, with a special emphasis on grappling with the inquiry-driven, open-ended nature of science. Tom is part of the team that teaches Frontiers of Science, Columbia’s Core course in the sciences; he also teaches within various programs at the American Museum of Natural History and the City University of New York which aim to make astrophysics research training more accessible, especially to students from marginalized backgrounds. Tom grew up in rural Oregon and comes from a Deaf family in which American Sign Language is the home language. Tom was a first-generation college student at Harvard University (degree awarded 2012), and received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 2019.