Peter conducted graduate studies in astronomy and astrophysics at the Australian National University and received his PhD in 1982.
During postdoctoral appointments in Theoretical Astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology (1982-1985) and the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute (1985-1989), Peter pursued his research interests in galaxy formation and dynamics, computational cosmology and dark matter using supercomputing facilities at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
In 1989, Peter took up a Research Fellowship at ANU to lead the Australian involvement in the MACHO Dark Matter Search Project with discoveries featured on the front cover of Nature in 1993.
In 1995, Peter accepted a position as Division Head of the newly formed Data Management and Operations Division at the European Southern Observatory headquarters in Munich. While at ESO, Peter led the efforts to design, implement and operate the science data flow system for the world’s largest observatory – the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT). This work was awarded a Computerworld 21st Century Achievement Award for Science in June 2005.