Peter Plavchan

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Assistant Professor
Physics, Astronomy and Materials Science 

Academic Interests

Astronomy; Specifically, I research planets around other stars. Over 1700 of these “exoplantets” have been discovered since 1989, turning science fiction into science fact

Top Scholarly Accomplishments

I have been published in numerous scientific journals, including Science, the Astrophysical Journal, The Astronomical Journal, The Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, The Proceedings of the Astronomy Society of the Pacific, and others.  I have given invited talks around the world, including the University of Leiden, Harvard, the California Institute of Technology, and Tel Aviv University. My research has been featured in several NASA press releases, and I received a NASA Honor Award in 2010 for my work with the Spitzer Space Telescope

Previous Experience

  • Assistant Research Scientist at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at the California Institute of Technology from 2008-2014.
  • I obtained my Ph.D. from UCLA in 2006, and was a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech from 2006-2008.


Pasadena, CA


  • Travel to new places
  • Read
  • Program
  • Play basketball
  • Play the drums
  • Collect coins

Future Goals and Aspirations

  • I intend to earn tenure at Missouri State
  • Establish a strong and vibrant research program in exoplanets here
  • Bring modern interactive and peer teaching techniques to my classes

Life Outside the University

I have a wife Faith and infant son Lincoln, and two Chihuahuas, with family in Philadelphia, New York and Florida.


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