Pettini was born in Rome but studied for a BSc in physics then a PhD in astrophysics at University College London. He has worked in the UK ever since, apart from four years at the Anglo-Australian Observatory in Epping, New South Wales from 1987 to 1991, and has British citizenship.
- Pettini, Max at ISIHighlyCited.com
- "Royal Society announces new Fellows". Royal Society. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-20.