Peter Gao's research interests include planetary atmospheres; exoplanet characterization; planet formation and evolution; atmosphere-surface-interior interactions; astrobiology; habitability; biosignatures; numerical modeling.

His arrival in September 2021 continued Carnegie's longstanding tradition of excellence in exoplanet discovery and research, which is crucial as the field prepares for an onslaught of new data about exoplanetary atmospheres when the next generation of telescopes come online.

Gao has been a part of several exploratory teams that investigated sulfuric acid clouds on Venus, methane on Mars, and the atmospheric hazes of Pluto. He also creates models that apply knowledge of photochemistry and cloud physics to help characterize the atmospheres of exoplanets and brown dwarfs, which are sometimes called failed stars, because they are not able to sustain hydrogen fusion.

He earned his Ph.D. in planetary science from Caltech and spent a year as a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at NASA Ames Research Center, three years at UC Berkeley as a 51 Pegasi b Postdoctoral Fellow, and one year at UC Santa Cruz as a NHFP Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow. His bachelor’s degree in physics is from the University of British Columbia, Canada.




Recent Publications