UC Davis & U. Melbourne
If the intensity of light radiating from a star varies in a periodic fashion over time, then there are significant opportunities for accessing information about the star's origins, age and structure. For example, if two stars have similar periodicity and light curves, and if we can gain information about the structure of one of them (perhaps because it is relatively close to Earth, and therefore amenable to direct observation), then we can make deductions about the structure of the other. Therefore period lengths, and light-curve shapes, are of significant interest. In this talk we shall briefly outline the history and current status of the study of periodic variable stars, and review some of the statistical methods used for their analysis.