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Dr. Peter Buhler

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Research Scientist

Currently resides in CA
pbuhler [at]
Areas of Expertise
Targets: Exoplanets, Icy satellites, Mars, Pluto
Disciplines/Techniques: Astrobiology, Celestial Mechanics, Climate, Crater Counting, Geology, Geomorphology, Mapping, Numerical modeling, Remote sensing, Space-based observing, Thermal modeling

Research Interests


Peter's work focuses on characterizing the volatile cycles of planets with thin atmospheres (Mars, Pluto, and Triton) using a combination of observation and numerical modeling. He is a visible-wavelength data analysis and numerical thermophysical modeling expert. He has also published on and maintains an interest in exoplanets and celestial dynamics.

Press Releases:

Mystery at Mars's Pole Explained.

Technical Skills and Training:

Extensive experience (>10 yr) with Python, Mathematica, ESRI ArcMap, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop. Field experience: Sierra Nevada, California; Drumheller, Alberta; Rio Tinto, Spain; Atacama Desert, Chile. Languages: English (native), Spanish (highly proficient), Mandarin (intermediate). Former Caltech swimming record holder.

Professional History


      2018                       Ph.D., Planetary Science, California Institute of Technology

                                    Advisor: Profs. Andrew P. Ingersoll, Bethany L. Ehlmann

      2015                       M.S., Planetary Science, California Institute of Technology

      2012                       B.S., Geology, cum laude, California Institute of Technology

Research Experience:

      2020-                      Research Scientist, Planetary Science Institute

      2018-2020              NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, Jet Propulsion Lab

      2013-2018              Graduate Research Assistant, Caltech

      2013                       Visiting Scientist, University of Antofagasta, Chile

                                    Visiting Scientist, Centro de Astrobiología, Madrid, Spain

      2012                       Visiting Scientist, Meteorite Studies, Western Australian Museum

                                    Researcher, Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Nova Scotia, Canada

                                    Curator Assistant and Field Assistant, Royal Tyrrell Museum, Canada

      2009-2011              Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow, Brown University/Caltech


Teaching Experience:

      2020                       Founder, Sirius Academic Institute

      2018                       Caltech Project for Effective Teaching, Certificate of Practice Recipient

      2018                       Guest Lecture, Formation & Evolution of Planetary Systems, Caltech Ge/Ay 133

      2014-2015              Institute for Educational Advancement, Course Instructor

      2011-2018               Caltech Teaching Assistant (6 courses)


Select Outreach Experience:

      2019                       Invited Speaker at Caltech Geologic and Planetary Science TecherTalk

      2017-2018              Caltech Reel Science host (program for school grades 3-12)

      2017                       Invited speaker at Caltech Geologic and Planetary Science 90th Anniversary

Honors and Awards

      2019                       JPL Planetary Science Summer Seminar Invited Participant

      2018-2020              NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow

      2018                       Caltech Leadership Award

      2017                       Caltech Space Challenge Winner

      2016-2018              NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow

      2016                       NASA Mars Program Office Student Travel Grant Awardee

      2015                       Duncombe Prize, AAS Division on Dynamical Astronomy

      2012-2013              Thomas J. Watson Fellow

      2012                       Caltech Athletic Director’s Award; Caltech Sportsman of the Year

      2009-2011              Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Richter Scholar

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