Peter Brown, Professor and Canada Research Chair


Contact Information

Office: PAB 247
Tel: (519) 661-2111 x86458

Personal web page
Meteor Physics
Western Institute for Earth & Space Exploration

Research Interests


The overarching theme for my research is the origin and evolution of small bodies in the solar system and their delivery/impact on Earth.In broad form, the long-term objective of my research program is to better understand the beginnings of the solar system by examining its most primitive objects, namely comets and asteroids, through study of their debris in the form of meteoroids and how these objects interacting with the Earth have affected our origins. My research program builds on my existing work and is composed of research projects linked together in specific research themes which address this global objective.

      The four research themes in my program and their objectives include:

  1. Meteoroid structure: Using the interaction of meteoroids with the atmosphere, (producing the light, heat and sound phenomena collectively termed a meteor), measurement of the physical structure and composition of small meteoroids is performed and related to the makeup of their parent body populations.
  2. Meteoroid impact effects on planetary atmospheres and surfaces: The objective of this theme is to measure the flux of impactors (mainly in the tens of meter size range and smaller), their velocity distribution and the effects of such impacts on planetary bodies.
  3. Meteoroid Stream Evolution and Origins (Orbital Dynamics): To identify meteoroids with specific parent bodies and relate their characteristics directly to particular small bodies. A related objective in this theme is to identify possible interstellar meteoroids and relate specific meteoroids to progenitor planetary systems, thus directly "sampling" material from other stellar systems.
  4. Meteorite Origins and Cosmochemistry: Collect samples in the form of meteorites which are instrumentally recorded to fall, reconstruct  pre-atmospheric orbits and determine the physical nature (strength, size, shape) of the pre-impact body through its ablation behaviour.


  1. Vida, D., et al. “Direct measurement of decimetre-sized rocky material in the Oort cloud”, Nature Astronomy, 2022. doi:10.1038/s41550-022-01844-3.
  2. Kipreos, Y., Campbell-Brown, M., Brown, P., and Vida, D., “Characterizing the daytime sextantids meteor shower and unveiling the nature of the phaethon-geminid stream complex”, MNRAS, vol. 516, no. 1, pp. 924–941, 2022. doi:10.1093/mnras/stac2249.
  3. Egal, A., Wiegert, P., and Brown, P. G., “A proposed alternative dynamical history for 2P/Encke that explains the taurid meteoroid complex”, MNRAS, vol. 515, no. 2, pp. 2800–2821, 2022. doi:10.1093/mnras/stac1839.
  4. Vida, D., Blaauw Erskine, R. C., Brown, P. G., Kambulow, J., Campbell-Brown, M., and Mazur, M. J., “Computing optical meteor flux using global meteor network data”, MNRAS, vol. 515, no. 2, pp. 2322–2339, 2022. doi:10.1093/mnras/stac1766.

[Complete Publications Listing (Scopus)]

[Complete Publications Listing (Google Scholar)]


Astronomy 2201: Planetary Systems

Astronomy 9601: Solar System and Planetary Astronomy


  • Canada Research Chair (Tier I)–Planetary Science (2018-2025)
  • Canada Research Chair (Tier I)–Meteor Astronomy (2010-2017)
  • Florence Bucke Award–Faculty of Science, Western (2006)
  • Provincial Research Excellence Award (2003)
  • Canada Research Chair (Tier II)–Meteor Science (2001-2010)
  • Plaskett Medal of CASCA/RASC (2001)
  • Ontario Distainguished Researcher Award (2001)
  • Listed by Maclean’s Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Young Canadians to Watch in the 21st Century” (Jan. 1, 2000 issue) (2000)

Professional Activities

Significant University Administrative Duties: (from 2001 to present)

  • Promotion and Tenure Committee–Electrical & Computer Engineering, May 2008–May 2010
  • Deans Decanal search committee Dec, 2009–June, 2010
  • Dean of Science Decanal Search Committee, Western, 2022
  • Director, Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration, Jan 2009–present
  • Physics and Astronomy Chair Selection Committee, May 2008–Dec 2009
  • Earth Science Chair Selection Committee, Aug 2006–2009
  • Education Policy Committee, Planetary science program rep., July 2006–present
  • Director, Planetary Science Program and Research Group, July 2003–July 2008
  • Education Policy Committee, Physics and Astronomy representative, July 2003–July 2005
  • Local Organizing Committee, American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, October 2022
  • Director, Elginfield Observatory, Jan 2011–present
  • Academic Planning Committee, May 2010–Jul 2011
  • Adjudication representative (Planetary Science) 2008–present
  • Appointments Committee (elected), 2007–2010
  • Planning Committee, 2007–2008
  • Promotion & Tenure Committee (elected), 2005–2008
  • Graduate Affairs Committee, Oct 2005–2007, Jul 2010–Jul 2011
  • Outreach Committee, 2004–2010
  • Workload Committee (elected), 2004–2007
  • Curriculum Committee, 2001–2005 (Chair 2002–2005)
  • Colloquium Committee, 2000–2003
  • Space Advisory Committee, 2000–2003