Suzanne Aigrain

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Suzanne Aigrain
Prof Suzanne Aigrain.png
Suzanne Aigrain in 2018
Born (1979-01-09) January 9, 1979 (age 41)[1]
EducationLycée Pierre-de-Fermat
Alma materImperial College London (BSc)
University of Cambridge (PhD)
Scientific career
Bayesian inference
InstitutionsUniversity of Oxford
University of Exeter
University of Cambridge
ThesisPlanetary transits and stellar variability (2005)

Suzanne Aigrain (born 1979)[1] is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.[2] She studies exoplanets and stellar variability.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Aigrain grew up in Toulouse, France, and was educated at the Lycée Pierre-de-Fermat.[1] She studied physics at Imperial College London and graduated in 2000.[2] During her undergraduate studies she was an intern at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. She spent sixth months at the European Space Agency[4] before joining the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge for her doctoral studies, earning a PhD in 2005[2][5] for work on planetary transits and stellar variability.[5]

Career and research[edit]

Aigrain was a postdoctoral research associate in the Institute of Astronomy from 2004.[2] In 2007 Aigrain joined the University of Exeter as a lecturer.[2][6][7] She was appointed a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford in 2010.[2][8] She leads the Stars & Planets group at Oxford Astrophysics, studying exoplanets and their stars.[9] She uses the Hubble Space Telescope, the Very Large Telescope and CoRoT satellite.[10] In 2011 she hosted a meeting with the Institute of Physics and Royal Astronomical Society to discuss recent discoveries in exoplanets, attended by Giovanna Tinetti and Jocelyn Bell Burnell.[11]

She has expressed her concerns about the detection of planets using the radial velocity method to detect exoplanets; such as instrumental precision, stellar activity, patchy observations and limitations of other models.[12] She was part of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) discovery of the Earth sized planet close to Alpha Centauri Bb,[13] but played an even closer role in the study that disproved the planet's existence in 2016.[14]

Aigrain and her group use Bayesian inference to correct for instrumental systematics while robustly preserving real astrophysical signals. She has played a leading role in the Kepler (K2) mission, correcting for its systematic noise and discovering many transiting planets.[15] Aigrain has studied hot Jupiters and other Jupiter-like planets.[16] She has looked at the potential to use transit surveys to study stellar clusters.[17] Her research has been funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).[18]

In 2019 Algrain was awarded a European Research Council Consolidator Grant to study exoplanets.[19]

Aigrain is interested in public engagement and regularly delivers popular science lectures.[10][20][21][22] She spoke about exoplanets on In Our Time in 2013.,[23] and has taken part in Pint of Science.[24] In 2018 she spoke at the Oxford Playhouse, accompanying the play One Small Step.[25] In November 2018 she was part of the Kings Place Bach, the Universe and Everything performance.[26] She is a member of the International Astronomical Union.[27] She writes non-fiction with Philippe Aigrain, as well as writing her own poetry.[28][29][30]


  1. ^ a b c Aigrain, Suzanne (2007). "Suzanne Aigrain CV" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-08-07.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "All Souls College Oxford". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  3. ^ "Suzanne Aigrain - University of Oxford Department of Physics". Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Suzanne AIGRAIN - Innovation Convention 2014". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  5. ^ a b Aigrain, Suzanne (2005). Planetary transits and stellar variability. (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. arXiv:astro-ph/0501558. OCLC 890157875. EThOS
  6. ^ "Dr Suzanne Aigrain". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  7. ^ "Past group photos | Physics and Astronomy | University of Exeter". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  8. ^ "Suzanne Aigrain: homepage". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  9. ^ "about – stars & planets @ oxford". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  10. ^ a b "Interview: Suzanne Aigrain |". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  11. ^ "A golden age of exoplanet discovery". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  12. ^ "Interview with Suzanne Aigrain : On the Search for nearby Earth-like Exoplanets". PALE RED DOT (in French). 2016-02-14. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  13. ^ "UK astronomers celebrate discovery of new Earth-sized planet - Science and Technology Facilities Council". United Kingdom Research and Innovation. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  14. ^ Rajpaul, V.; Aigraine, S. (2016). "Ghost in the time series: no planet for Alpha Cen B.". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters. 456 (1): L6–L10. arXiv:1510.05598. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slv164.
  15. ^ Howell, Steve B.; Sobeck, Charlie; Haas, Michael; Still, Martin; Barclay, Thomas; Mullally, Fergal; Troeltzsch, John; Aigrain, Suzanne; Bryson, Stephen T. (2014). "The K2 Mission: Characterization and Early Results". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 126 (938): 398–408. arXiv:1402.5163. doi:10.1086/676406. ISSN 0004-6280.
  16. ^ Fletcher, Leigh N.; Irwin, Patrick G. J.; Barstow, Joanna K.; Kok, Remco J. de; Lee, Jae-Min; Aigrain, Suzanne (2014). "Exploring the diversity of Jupiter-class planets". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. 372 (2014): 20130064. doi:10.1098/rsta.2013.0064. ISSN 1364-503X. PMC 3982424. PMID 24664910.
  17. ^ Aigrain, S.; Pont, F. (2007). "On the potential of transit surveys in star clusters: impact of correlated noise and radial velocity follow-up". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 378 (2): 741–752. arXiv:0704.0574. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2007.11823.x. ISSN 0035-8711.
  18. ^ [1][dead link]
  19. ^ "ERC awards over €600 million to Europe's top researchers". ERC: European Research Council. 2019-12-05. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  20. ^ Anon. "Exploring the Diversity of Exoplanets". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  21. ^ "Exploring the Diversity of Exoplanets" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  22. ^ Follow The Evidence (2017-07-03), Where and How Might We Search for Life? - Suzanne Aigrain, retrieved 2018-11-25
  23. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Exoplanets". BBC. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  24. ^ "Deep space discoveries". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  25. ^ "One Small Step: Far Beyond The Moon". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  26. ^ "Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Worlds Beyond • Kings Place". Kings Place. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  27. ^ "Suzanne Aigrain at IAU". International Astronomical Union. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  28. ^ Aigrain, Philippe (2012). Sharing: Culture and the Economy in the Internet Age. Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 9789089643858.
  29. ^ "About |". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  30. ^ "Suzanne Aigrain: Poetry". Retrieved 2018-11-25.