John Weiss, Ph.D.

Assistant professor, physics

Areas of Expertise

  • Physics of Orbits and Planetary Rings
  • Numerical Simulations in Physics
  • The History of Science


Ph.D., astrophysical, planetary, and atmospheric sciences, CU-Boulder; B.A., physics/astronomy and mathematics, Carleton College.

John Weiss's research focus on the dynamics of Saturn's rings at the scale of individual 1-meter ring particles and how collective behaviors between the particles lead to structures forming within the rings or evolution of the ring. He also is interested in the interaction between rings and the small moons that orbit in or near them ("moonlets") as well as a variety of small (but amusing) physics problems. In addition, he likes to delve into the history of science and the experiments and reasoning used.

Select publications

Weiss, J. W.; Porco, C. C.; Tiscareno, M. S. 2009, "Ring Edge Waves and the Masses of Nearby Satellites", The Astronomical Journal,138, pp 272-286

Porco et al. 2008, "Simulations of the Dynamical and Light-Scattering Behavior of Saturn's Rings and the Derivation of Ring Particle and Disk Properties", The Astronomical Journal, 136, pp. 2172-2220

Tiscareno et al. 2006, "100-metre-diameter moonlets in Saturn's A ring from observations of 'propeller' structures", Nature, 440, pp. 648-650

Areas of interest (professional / personal)

History of science, classical studies, public outreach astronomy, cooking, birding, photography