Peter Plavchan

Campus: Springfield



  • PhD, MS, Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, 2006
  • BS, Physics (with Honors), California Institute of Technology, 2001


  • Survey of Astronomy 

Professional experience

  • NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (Exo-PAG) Executive Committee member, 2012-2016
  • Assistant Research Scientist, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech, 2014
  • Assistant Staff Scientist, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech, 2008-2014
  • Post-Doctoral Scholar, Caltech, 2006-2008
  • NASA TESS mission Target Selection Working Group
  • MINERVA Instrument Scientist
  • American Astronomical Society
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science 

Research and professional interests

  • Extrasolar Planets 
  • M Dwarfs
  • Debris Disks
  • Primordial Disks 

Other interests


  • Precise radial velocities
  • Optical-IR photometric variability
  • Mid-IR excess
  • Transits


  • Baker Observatory
  • NASA Infrared Telescope Facility
  • Spitzer Space Telescope
  • Keck Telescopes
  • NASA Kepler Mission 

Skill Set: 

  • Novel approaches and interpretation
  • Instrumentation
  • Time series analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Observational Astronomy from .5 to 70 microns
  • Multi-lingual Programming 

Awards and honors

  • NASA Honor Achievement Award (awarded for outstanding achievement in the rapid and on-budget launch of the NASA Exoplanet Archive), NASA Exoplanet Archive Team, 2014
  • JPL NASA Press Release, "Spitzer Discovers Young Stars with a Hula-Hoop," 2013
  • JPL NASA Press Release, "Stars Don't Obliterate Their Planets (Very Often)," 2013
  • NASA Honor Achievement Award (awarded for outstanding support of Spitzer IRAC Warm Instrument Characterization and significant contributions to NASA and JPL commitments to education of the global community), Spitzer Science In-Reach Team, 2010
  • UCLA Physics Division Fellowship, 2001-2006
  • AAS, UCLA Press Release, "The Case of the Missing Disks," 2005
  • Kobe International School of Planetary Sciences Fellowship, 2005
  • UCLA Astronomy Department Outstanding Teaching Award, 2002-2003
  • IBM Watson Fellowship, 1996-2000

Additional resources