Peter K. G. Williams is an American astronomer at the Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA. His recent research has centered on the magnetic fields of very low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, which were originally expected to be weak and unimportant but turn out to be surprisingly strong and structured. In fact, these magnetic fields are quite similar to those of the Solar System planets, even driving powerful aurorae. Peter’s studies are mostly based on radio-wave observations, and there’s a lot of excitement in the community about using new radio telescopes to probe the magnetic fields of exoplanets themselves. Along with his astrophysical research, he’s very interested in improving the ways that scientists write code, analyze their data, and communicate their results.
Peter is an early-career scientist; he got his PhD from UC Berkeley in 2012 and has been working at Harvard as a postdoc for three years. He currently lives in the Cambridge area and grew up around there, too. Normally he tweets as @pkgw.