UCL Astrophysics Group

Professor Giovanna Tinetti

Professor Giovanna Tinetti

Professor of Astrophysics

Dept of Physics & Astronomy

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
18th Jun 2007

Research summary

Prof. Tinetti has been working at the forefront of galactic planetary science investigations, having achieved pioneering measurements of water vapour and other molecules in the atmospheres of hot, gaseous planets more than a decade ago and, more recently, in the atmospheres of super-Earths orbiting in the habitable-zone of their star.

Knowing what atmospheres are made of is essential to understand the composition of the planetary interiors and their climate. It can clarify, for instance, whether a planet was born in the orbit it is observed in or whether it has migrated a long way. It is the only indicator able to discriminate an habitable/inhabited planet from a sterile one.

She is the Principal Investigator of the European Space Agency’s Ariel payload consortium, the only space telescope dedicated to undertaking a comprehensive spectral survey of exoplanets in a wide variety of environments. Ariel will be launched in 2029.

Teaching summary

Currently teaching Physics of Exoplanets, PHAS0068. Academic teaching summary at:  http://giotin.org/pages/teaching.html

PhD students supervised at UCL

  • Sushuang Ma, UCL, 2022-
  • Alex Thompson, UCL, Oct. 2021-present
  • Arianna Saba, UCL CDT, Oct. 2020-present.
  • Vinooja Thurairethinam (second supervisor), UCL Physics Department, Oct. 2020-present.
  • Sze Kay Cynthia Ho (second supervisor), UCL MSSL, Oct. 2020-present.
  • Lara Anisman, UCL Physics Department, Dec. 2019-present
  • Quentin Changeat, UCL Physics Department, Oct. 2018-Jan. 2021
  • Gordon Yip (second supervisor), UCL CDT, Oct. 2017-Sept. 2021
  • Billy Edwards, UCL Physics Department, Nov. 2017-Dec. 2019
  • Mario Damiano (co-supervisor), UCL Physics Department/INAF, Dec. 2015-2018.
  • Tiziano Zingales (co-supervisor), UCL Physics Department/INAF, Nov. 2015-2018
  • Angelos Tsiaras, UCL Physics Department, Oct. 2014-2017.
  • 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.


Universita degli Studi di Torino
First Degree, Laurea |
Universita degli Studi di Torino
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2003
Politecnico di Torino
Other higher degree, Masters | 1999


Professor Giovanna Tinetti is the Head of Group of Astrophysics at UCL and Director of the UCL Centre for Space Exo-chemistry Data at Harwell.

She is the Principal Investigator of Ariel, the European Space Agency's next medium-class (M4) science mission to be launched in 2029. She is also co-founder and co-director of Blue Skies Space Ltd, which aims at creating new opportunities for science space satellites.

PhD in Theoretical Physics from University of Turin (2003), she has coordinated at UCL a team on exoplanets since 2007. Royal Society University Research Fellow (2009-2017). ESA External Fellow (2005-2007), NASA Astrobiology Institute/NRC Fellow at Caltech/JPL (2003-2005), Predoc and Postdoc at Caltech and University of Southern California, (2001-2003).

Prof. Tinetti has authored / co-authored  250 research publications. These include the paper with the highest altmetric score among Physical Sciences in 2019. She has delivered 300 talks, seminars and public lectures internationally, see complete list here: http://giotin.org/pages/conferences.html

Select appointments and achievements:

  • Head of Astrophysics Group, UCL Department of Physics & Astronomy. June 2020-present
  • Director – UCL Centre for Space Exochemistry Data. November 2018-present.
  • Principal Investigator, Ariel (ESA M4 mission) payload consortium, June 2015-present
  • Co-founder and co-director Blue Skies Space Ltd, June 2014-present
  • Fermi chair, La Sapienza U. of Rome, 2019-2020
  • Principal Investigator, ERC-funded programme "Exo-Lights", 2014-2019.
  • Principal Investigator EChO (ESA M3 candidate mission) payload consortium, 2011-2014. 
  • Editor of American Astronomical Society DPS journal, ICARUS. 

Select awards: 

  • Special Monte-Carlo Prize, May 2022, Principality of Monaco
  • Cavaliere dell'Ordine al merito della Repubblica italiana (Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic), March 2020.
  • Moseley Medal & Prize, IOP Institute of Physics, UK, 2011
  • NASA Group Achievement Award (US, 2009)
  • Edward Stone Award, with Mark Swain and Gautam Vasisht (JPL US, 2009)

Recent appointments in advisory boards: 

  • ERC panel member
  • International Space Science Institute (ISSI) science team member
  • Hubble/Spitzer/JWST panel chair/TAC member
  • STFC Exoplanet Roadmap Advisory Team
  • ESA Exoplanet Roadmap Advisory Team