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Joseph A'HEARN

Welcome to my site! I’m an astrophysicist and planetary scientist especially interested in solar system dynamics. I am set to graduate with a Physics Ph.D. in May 2022 and am looking for positions in academia, industry, or government. Feel free to contact me. 

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I’m currently a Physics Ph.D. candidate at the University of Idaho.

I’ve been doing research on the dynamics of moons and rings in the outer Solar system. 

My first two papers focused on the Saturn system. More recently, I have been exploring the systems of Uranus and Neptune. 


My first scientific paper dealt with energy conservation in co-rotation resonances, with a focus on Saturn’s Aegaeon ring arc.

Next I studied co-orbital satellite systems. I won an award for this research in 2019. My second scientific paper makes applications of my findings to phenomena in Saturn’s innermost ringlet. 

I am currently investigating where in the rings of Uranus and Neptune we should look for evidence of planetary oscillations. I have been presenting my preliminary results at multiple conferences in 2021. 


I have been teaching high school physics for Memoria Press Online Academy since Fall 2018. I taught Introductory Physics for three years (2018-21) and am currently teaching Advanced Physics (2021-22). 

I offered a crash course in Astronomy to anyone who wished to register in April-May 2021, and I may do this again in the future. Registrants were given access to my 16 video lectures (about 6 hours of content) and were invited to engage in discussion during 7 live video chat sessions. Email me if you wish to find out when I offer this course again!   


I did my undergraduate studies in Physics, with a technical option in Astrophysics, and a second major in Philosophy, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

I’m also Catholic. Before transferring to UIUC, I spent eleven years, starting with high school, in a formation program to become a Catholic missionary priest. Even though I decided in the end that taking another career path made more sense for me, my adventures and experiences during those years, which I spent in the northeastern United States, Mexico, and Italy, have in large part made me who I am today. I wouldn’t trade my unique path in life for any other.