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Tim Pearce

I am a Stephen Hawking Fellow, specialising in the dynamics of planetary systems.

Much of my work involves 'debris discs', which are populations of asteroids, comets, dust and dwarf planets, similar to the Asteroid Belt and Kuiper Belt in our Solar System. We see debris discs around other stars too, and we think that many show signs of interacting with planets. I model planet-debris interactions, to interpret what debris discs teach us about the architectures and histories of planetary systems. Examples of my planet-debris work include Pearce et al. (2022a), Pearce & Wyatt (2014b) and Pearce & Wyatt (2015a).

I also work on 'hot exozodi', which is mysterious emission detected around many main-sequence stars. We think it arises from very small, very hot dust located very close to stars, but we don't understand where it comes from or how it survives. I produce dynamical models to explain this dust, partly to ensure that it can be mitigated in future missions to image Earth-like exoplanets. Examples of my hot-exozodi work include Pearce et al. (2020) and Pearce et al. (2022b).

My work is mainly theory, but I am also very involved in observations. I am active in several James Webb Space Telescope programmes to look for planets in debris-disc systems (including one as PI), to interpret what we learn from detections (or non-detections) of such planets. I am also very involved in hot-dust observations with VLTI/MATISSE, as well as the upcoming NOTT instrument.


I am always interested in taking on students. Please contact me if you're interested.

Write to:

Tim Pearce,
Department of Physics,
University of Warwick,
Coventry CV4 7AL

Contact details:

Office: F06 (Milburn House)