Giovanna Tinetti bio photo

Giovanna Tinetti

Professor of Astrophysics at UCL - PI ERC program ExoLights

Academic teaching


Teaching experience

  • Course PHASM/G337, Physics of the Exoplanets, Dep. of Physics, UCL.

  • UCL Planetary Science MSc tutor / coordinator, October 2016-present.

  • Invited lecture, STFC summer school, University of Manchester, August 2017.

  • Director Lake Como School for Advanced Studies 2016: Brave New Worlds - Understanding the planets around other stars, May 2016, Como, Italy.

  • Lecturer 33rd Jerusalem Winter School on Exoplanet, Israeli Institute for Advances Studies, Jerusalem, Jan. 2016.

  • Course PHAS-3661, Physics of the Earth, Dep. of Physics, UCL, 2015-2016.

  • Invited lecture, North London Collegiate School in Edgware, March 2016.

  • Invited lecture, STFC summer school, University of Glasgow, Sept. 2015.

  • Course PHAS-2117, Physics of the Solar Systems, Dep. of Physics, UCL, 2011-2015.

  • Invited lecture, Royal Grammar School, Guildford, UK, April 2015.

  • Invited lecture on exoplanets, University of Rome, La Sapienza, Feb. 2015.

  • Invited lecture, Caterham School, Surrey, UK, March 2015.

  • Invited lecture on exoplanets, STFC summer school, Imperial College, London, Sept. 2014.

  • Invited series of lectures, Physics of planetary systems, part of the Italian Ministry funded program The messengers of knowledge, University of Palermo, March-April 2014 & UCL-London, May-July 2014.

  • Invited lecture, 34th Annual Astronomy Weekend, Progress in Astronomy, Rewley House, Oxford, April 2012.

  • Invited lecture on exoplanets, University of Rome, La Sapienza, Dec. 2011.

  • Course PHAS-2427E, Environmental Physics, Dep. of Physics, University College London, 2009-2010.

  • PG Lectures for PhD program UCL and Imperial College, Feb. 2010.

  • Invited lectures, European Research Course on Atmospheres, Grenoble, Jan. 2010, and Feb. 2011.

  • Invited lecture, Summer School, University of St. Andrews, Aug. 2009.

  • Invited lecture Master course in Science and Communication, Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) Trieste Italy, May 2009.

  • Tutor to the courses of Mathematics and Physics for Natural Science, University College London, 2007-2008

  • Teaching assistant, course: General Physics Prof. L. Ferrero, Faculty of Physics, Torino, 2000-2001.

  • Teaching assistant, course: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, Prof. E. Predazzi and Prof. M. Anselmino. Faculty of Physics, Torino, 1999-2000.

  • Teaching assistant, course: Statistical mechanics, Prof. L. Sertorio, Faculty of Physics, Torino, 1997-2000, plus lecture notes on Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics.

PhD students supervised

  • Mario Damiano, UCL Physics Department/INAF, Dec. 2015-present
  • Tiziano Zingales, UCL Physics Department/INAF, Nov. 2015-present
  • Giuseppe Morello (second supervisor), UCL Physics Department, Oct. 2013-2016.
  • Marco Rocchetto, UCL Physics Department, Oct. 2014-2016.
  • Emma Barton (second supervisor), UCL Physics Department, Oct. 2013-2016.
  • Ryan Varley, UCL Physics Department, Oct. 2012-2016.
  • Marcell Tessenyi, UCL Physics Department, Oct. 2010-2013.
  • Camilla Danielski, UCL Physics Department, Oct. 2010-2013.
  • Morgan Hollis, UCL Physics Department, Oct. 2010-2013.
  • Ingo Waldmann, UCL Physics Department, Oct. 2009-June 2012.
  • David Kipping, UCL, Physics Department, Oct. 2007-2010.

PHASM/G337 Physics of exoplanets

Course aims

Only nine planets were known before 1992, the ones orbiting our star, the Sun, which then included Pluto. Twenty-five years later, we have «lost» Pluto but we have gained four thousand planets in orbit around other stars. Current statistical estimates indicate that, on average, every star in our Galaxy hosts at least one planetary companion, i.e. our Milky Way is crowded with one thousand billion planets! The most revolutionary aspect of this young field is the discovery that the Solar System does not appear to be the paradigm in our Galaxy, but rather one of the many possible configurations we are seeing out there. These include planets completing a revolution in less than one day, as well as planets orbiting two stars or moving on trajectories so eccentric as to resemble comets. Some of them are freezing cold, some are so hot that their surface is molten. Finding out why are these new worlds as they are, is one of the key challenges of modern astrophysics.


The course is directed to students who are interested in widening their knowledge in the field of exoplanets, through an integrated approach covering observations, data analysis and interpretation. At the end of the course, students will be able to describe the methods used to detect and characterize exoplanets and current theories of planetary formation. They will also have acquired a good knowledge and understanding of a broad range of planetary subjects at the forefront of scientific research, including those outside the specific purview of the student’s degree programme. The students will also have gained highly transferable skills in statistics, spectroscopy and remote sensing techniques.

Useful information

  • Where: UCL. When: second term.

  • Supplementary material (notes, review papers, audio recordings) will be distributed on moodle in addition to the suggested text books.

  • Lectures will include hands-on tutorials with analysis of real observations.


Core maths and physics from a physical or natural science first degree. The course will require a basic understanding of partial differentiation, integrals and vector calculus.