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Meet Joseph Glaser, the Center's Scientific Computing Specialist


Meet Joseph Glaser, the new Scientific Computing Specialist for the NANOGrav Collaboration and WVU's Center for Gravitational Waves Cosmology.

Joe comes to us from Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida, but also spent some time in Boston, Massachusetts where he attended the Harvard Extension School via connections through his high school. He then moved to Cleveland, Ohio to attend Cleveland State University via their Post Secondary Enrollment Program for the last two years of his high-school degree. He stayed in Cleveland for the rest of his undergraduate career. He spent the last six years in Philadelphia, PA, which has quickly carved out a special place in his heart.

He received two undergraduate degrees (Honors B.Sc. in Physics + B.Sc. in Mathematics) from Cleveland State University in May 2014. Following that, he attended Drexel University and earned his M.Sc. in Physics in May 2016 and Ph.D. in Physics, awarded in September of 2020.

Joe’s research dissertation title was “Exploring the Evolution of Planetary Systems within Stellar Open Clusters” and centered on his solution to the multi-scale physical problem of star-star interactions on early planetary systems via simulations.

Joe’s research interests focus on computational physics with a concentration in astrophysical simulations. Currently, his area of research expertise lies with modeling compact systems (like stellar binaries and planetary systems) within clustered environments. These models include a variety of astrophysical effects to produce data products which can be used in mock observation pipelines.

The vast majority of stars form from large HII regions and gravitationally interact with neighboring stars, forming open clusters and associations. Since we now know that planetary systems are quite prevalent as a by-product of stellar formation, his research focuses on exploring planetary formation and subsequent orbit evolution while the host star is in this natal environment. He is looking for signatures of past dynamical interactions in the observed exoplanet population via simulating this early life till stellar isolation and then comparing the population statistics between the two. Additionally, he is researching the effects of stellar fly-bys on the shaping of our own Kuiper Belt Oort Cloud.

Joe truly enjoys outreach, sharing science with the general public and physics education. He states “I strongly believe that any one can gain an appreciation and rich understanding for the world around us if the content is presented in an inviting way”.

In his free time, he is an avid gamer (both table-top and PC/Consoles) and #maker. He has recently discovered a deep love for painting miniatures and dioramas (check out his Instagram @leonisminis). He enjoys participating in historical reenactments and immersive live high-fantasy experiences. Lastly, he is also a theme-park enthusiast!

When asked what he is most looking forward to in his new role, he explains he is thrilled to have time dedicated to exploring his research interests and support for WVU’s public outreach, reaching local and national communities. “I think what I am most excited about regarding this position is getting the chance to experience a whole new sub-field of astrophysics. I've always been fascinated by stellar remnants and high-energy systems, so the ability to work along-side incredibly talented researchers in piercing the cosmic veil is quite inspiring,” Joe said.

He has quickly become a strong team member, and we are thrilled to have someone so valuable on our team. Be sure to welcome Joe when you see him!