Joel WeisbergGertrude Mosier Stark Professor of Physics and Astronomy and the Natural Sciences at Carleton College, Emeritus
I am Herman and Gertrude Mosier Stark Professor of Physics and
Astronomy and the Natural Sciences at Carleton College, Emeritus. I came to
Carleton in 1984 and found this position to be my dream job
of inspiring students and outstanding colleagues. Until my retirement after the 2018-19 school year, I taught astronomy and
astrophysics approximately two-thirds time; physics, approximately
one-third; with an occasional science and public policy course mixed in.
Life and education before Carleton:
I began my astronomy interest at a young age. My first public
astronomy lectures were in high school under the New Mexico stars. I
began my pulsar research at MIT and Arecibo Observatory in 1971, and I
received an SB in Earth and Planetary Sciences from MIT in 1972. I
received an MS in Astronomy in 1975 and a Ph.D. in Physics in 1978,
from Iowa. I was in residence at Arecibo Observatory for 1 1/2 years to
gather data for my dissertation. I then spent three years as a
postdoctoral research associate in radio astronomy at the University of
Massachusetts and three years as Assistant Professor of Physics at
Princeton before coming to Carleton.
The astrophysical research interests that I share with my students include radio astronomy, pulsars, gravitation, and the interstellar medium. My students and I gather our data at the Arecibo, Green Bank, Very Large Array, and Parkes (Australia) Radio Observatories.
A description of my research on The First Binary Pulsar and Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.
I have co-authored over sixty scientific papers in refereed
journals, including Nature, Science, Physical Review Letters, Astrophysical
Journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters, Astronomy and
Astrophysics, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,
and Astronomical Journal. I co-authored an October, 1981 Scientific
American article on the Binary Pulsar and Gravitational Radiation,
principal focus of my research career. I have received eight major
research grants from the National Science Foundation and one from the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Discovery of a Pulsed Interstellar Maser: Here are direct links to a 2005 Science magazine article (and its abstract alone) on our discovery of a pulsed interstellar maser.
The cover etching on a geostationary satellite artifact: Artist Trevor Paglen and I wrote a scientific article in Astronomical Journal about the messages on the cover of an artifact attached to a geostationary satellite. You may download a pdf of the article, which includes a detailed drawing of the artifact cover, here.
Our Trips to Observatories and Meetings:
See some of my students at the US telescopes on the Students at Observatories page.
See some Carleton students and my family and me on the Astronomical Meetings page.
Go to the Carleton College Radio Astronomy Observatory page to find out about the establishment of our observatory in the Sogn Valley, MN.
On the 1991 Baja Eclipse Trip page, see photos of alums and friends on the beach for the eclipse in July, 1991.
The 1994 New Mexico and Arizona Alumni Trip page has pictures of a camping trip I led through the Southwest in 1994.
The 2003 Chaco Canyon, NM Alumni Trip page has pictures of an archaeoastronomy trip to this Anasazi site.
The 2009 Utah Alumni Trip page has pictures of a camping, rafting, and stargazing trip to Arches and the Colorado River.
The 2016 Hawaii Alumni Trip page pictures some highlights of our natural history trip there.
Members and Alums of the Department and of the College cooperated to throw a retirement party
in Joel's honor, 8 months before the deed itself. Some say it was a message . . .
Here is the JoelFest link.
In 1985, Michael C.,
Molly M., and Tara O painted my office door. Unfortunately
I had to abandon that office and its door about ten years later.
I have changed, too. (More recent
picture; and 2012 June picture