Peter Maitlis conducted his early work with Michael Dewar and Gordon Stone. His research interests included synthesis of the N-heterocycles and organoboron, as well as the transition metal mediation of organic reactions. His work on palladium chemistry resulted in a two-volume book, The Organic Chemistry of Palladium (1971). He also conducted collaborative research with industry, resulting in new metal catalysts for the manufacture of oxygenated compounds.
Later, he worked to improve understanding of the commercially important Fischer - Tropsch reaction - the hydrogenation of carbon monoxide. He also investigated the syntheses of metal-containing liquid crystals (metallomesogens), which have useful optical and electronic properties. His research findings have been published in nearly 400 research papers and reviews.
Peter was a former President of the Dalton Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He lectured extensively around the world, organised international conferences and received many distinctions and prizes. Peter served on the Royal Society Council and UK government committees, and advised government agencies and scientific bodies in Canada and the United States, amongst other countries.