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David Brown

I am a postdoctoral researcher working in the field of extra-Solar planets. I gained my PhD in 2013 from the University of St Andrews, and before that studied Physics at the University of Warwick, graduating in 2009.

My current post is funded, in part, by the UK Space Agency; I am assigned to the upcoming PLATO mission as part of the Science Management Project Office. My time is split 50:50 between PLATO tasks and research into extra-Solar planets.

NOTE: I've recently moved offices within the department. Please check the office number and telephone number to the right.


I'm interested in all aspects of exoplanetary science. My PhD was focused on the interactions between hot Jupiter planets and their host stars, particularly through gravitational tides. These can have a significant effect on the evolution of a planetary system, both from the star and the hot Jupiter's points of view. Current (and past projects) include:

  • Tidal spin-up of host stars
  • Tidal realignment of planetary orbits through measurement of the spin-orbit alignment angle using the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect
  • The accuracy of different stellar age estimation methods for exoplanet hosts
  • The presence of circumbinary planets in CoRot, Kepler, and K2 data
  • The existence, or otherwise, of additional, outer bodies in hot Jupiter systems that might have caused misalignment

Since beginning my PhD I have been part of the SuperWASP collaboration, and continue to work closely with the SuperWASP planet discovery and follow-up team. This includes working to identify new candidate planets, and radial velocity observations to pin down the masses of the planets. I am also an associate of the GAPS collaboration, am involved in several K2 follow-up collaborations, and work with several other members of the Warwick Astronomy group to investigate tidal decay of hot Jupiter systems.


PLATO sticker

My work with the PLATO Science Management Project Office revolves around assisting the head of the PSM with the build-up to the mission. Since starting this position in 2015 I have assisted with two major ESA reviews, coordinated budget preparation and applications, and carried out efficiency and performance studies.


A full list of my publications can be found here, courtesy of ADS.

Selected Publications

D. J. A. Brown et al., 'Rossiter-McLaughlin models and their effect on estimates of stellar rotation, illustrated using six WASP systems', MNRAS 464, 810

D. J. A. Brown, 'Discovery of WASP-85Ab: a hot Jupiter in a visual binary system', ArXiv:1412.7761 (2014)

D. J. A. Brown, 'Discrepancies between isochrone fitting and gyrochronology for exoplanet host stars?', MNRAS 442, 1844 (2014)

D. J. A. Brown et al., 'Analysis of Spin-Orbit Alignment in the WASP-32, WASP-38, and HAT-P-27/WASP-40 Systems', ApJ 760, 139 (2012)

D. J. A. Brown et al., 'Rossiter-McLaughlin effect measurements for WASP-16, WASP-25 and WASP-31', MNRAS 423, 1503 (2012)

D. J. A. Brown et al., 'Are falling planets spinning up their host stars?', MNRAS 415, 605 (2011)

PDF copies of my PhD thesis are available on request should you wish to read it. All science chapters in my thesis are also available as refereed journal articles (listed above).

Useful material

A copy of my CV can be downloaded here.

Copies of the conference talks (as well as some outreach talks) that I have given are availble on request. You will need a pdf viewer to open them.


As well as research activities, I am very interested in public engagement and scientific outreach activities. I'm happy to talk to anyone about my research, or about what it's like working in astronomy; please feel free to get in touch if you'd like me to visit your group/society/meeting.

I have several pre-prepared talks, all of which can be adjusted to suit different time slots:

  • "A Brief History of Exoplanets" - an overview of major exoplanet discovery techniques and results; suitable for astronomy societies and older school groups.
  • "Falling Planets" - a more technical talk about tidal interactions; suitable for astronomy societies.
  • "Exoplanet Hunting: the life of a professional astronomer" - an overview of my inspirations and career path, with the basics of exoplanet discovery; suitable for schools and youth groups.


In my spare time I rehearse and perform with the Leamington Sinfonia orchestra as part of their woodwind section.

I also swim regularly, and am very interested in water safety. I've been a member of the RLSS for over ten years, and am both a qualified lifesaving instructor and first aider. I also regularly compete in and judge at lifesaving competitions.

DJABrown2Contact details

Dr. David Brown
Department of Physics
University of Warwick

Office: PS 0.14

Tel: (+44) (0)24761 50942
E-Mail: d.j.a.brown (at)

CV: Download here

Publications: A list of my publications can be found via ADS at this URL.