Role: PSM member
Dr. Pierre Maxted earned a B.Sc. in Mathematical Physics (I Hons) from the University of Sussex in 1991. He then studied Algol-type eclipsing binary stars at the University of St Andrews with Ron
Hilditch, for which he was awarded a PhD in 1994. Following a “European Research Training Fellowship” at Copenhagen University and a temporary lectureship back at the University of Sussex, he was a post-doctoral research assistant with Tom Marsh at the University of Southampton, producing important results in the field of short-period binary white dwarfs and hot sub-dwarfs.
Since 2001 he has been working at Keele University in the UK, first as a lecturer then, since 2007, as a reader in astrophysics. For the majority of that time he has played a key role in the WASP project, including the day-to-day running the WASP-South instrument, developing improvements to the software and hardware used by the project, discovering and characterizing transiting exoplanets, and studying some of the variable stars that are found in large numbers by the WASP survey. In 2011 he was one of the members of the WASP project awarded the Royal Astronomical Society Group Achievement Award for Astronomy. In 2013 he used WASP data to discover a new class of variable star (EL CVn-type stars) in which a stripped red giant star is eclipsed by an A-type star. He has (co-)authored more than 220 peer-reviewed journal articles on binary stars and exoplanets, with over 10,000 citations.
He is currently developing new methods to analyze data for transiting exoplanets and eclipsing binary stars from space-based instruments. In particular, he is an associate member of the science team member for the CHEOPS mission, contributing to the “Data analysis toolkit” working group. Within the PLATO mission he is leading efforts within work package WP125500 “Benchmark stars” to find and characterize eclipsing binary stars that can be used to test the accuracy of the stellar parameters derived using asteroseismology.