Elisabeth Matthews



Observatoire de Genève
Chemin Pegasi 51
1290 Versoix, Switzerland


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I’m a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Geneva, where I use observations with world class telescopes to study the planetary systems of nearby stars.

Most of my research uses high resolution and high contrast adaptive optics imaging. I’m interested in understanding the frequency and properties of exoplanet systems, and in particular the architectures of exoplanet systems, and the interactions of exoplanets with debris disks and companion stars. I’ve been leading programs to search for long-period exoplanets and brown dwarfs with the SPHERE instrument at the Very Large Telescopes, and I contributed to a large program searching for planets with the NIRC2 instrument at the Keck Observatory. More recently, I’ve been thinking about how we can use hints from radial velocity and astrometry to design highly targeted direct imaging campaigns. I’ve also contributed to the TESS follow-up program. TESS finds transiting planets, and by searching for faint companions to the planet host I ensure that planet radii are measured correctly and check that the signal really is originating from the star we think.

I completed my PhD in 2018 at the University of Exeter, where I worked with Prof Sasha Hinkley. After writing my thesis I moved across the pond to MIT, for a postdoc with Prof Ian Crossfield and Prof Sara Seager. I’m now back in Europe, where I’m searching for planets and brown dwarfs as part of Dr Damien Ségransan’s research group at the University of Geneva as part of the PlanetS collaboration.

Images of a low-mass stellar companion and the BD +45 598 disk

Email me at elisabeth.matthews@unige.ch

See my publications on ADS

Find me on ORCID

I’m passionate about science communication, with my most recent scicomm adventure being leading the Astronomy on Tap Boston team. I’ve also recently mentored high school and undergraduate students through the JuRA @ MIT program. Previously, I was the lecturer for the Institute of Physics School’s Tour, where I gave 14 talks at schools in Devon and Cornwall, and as a PhD student I wrote several articles for astrobites.org. See my astrobites articles here.

Watch me present my thesis work as part of the IOP 3 Minute Wonder competition below: