About Josh Colwell

September 2012 Photo Shoot at UCF Microgravity Center

September 2012 Photo Shoot at UCF Microgravity Center

I always wanted to be involved in space exploration in some way. My mother claims it started when she witnessed a launch from Kennedy Space Center (before it was named that) when she was 8 months pregnant with me. Growing up in DeLand, Florida, I could see the rockets from the Apollo program heading toward Earth orbit and the Moon from the roof of our house. I got a B.S. in Physics with a minor in Applied Mathematics from Stetson University in DeLand, where my father was a professor in the English department, in 1985. Four years later I had a Ph.D. in Astrophysical, Planetary, and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Colorado, and a darling daughter Aylia with my charming wife, Anne-Marie.

My research is in planetary sciences, with an emphasis on solar system dynamics, planet formation, planetary rings, moons, and dust in the solar system. Aside from a one-year stint at the Observatoire Midi-Pyrenees in Toulouse France as a Fullbright Scholar in 1995-1996, I was a research associate at the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics from 1989 through 2006. Since December 2006 I have been on the faculty of the Physics Department at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. I direct a Center for Microgravity Research that is developing payloads for the International Space Station, parabolic airplane flights, and suborbital rocket flights, as well as drop tower experiments. My professional web site is at the University of Central Florida.

Although I’m the only scientist in my immediate family (with the exception of a nephew en route to a Ph.D. in Physics), I share a love for movies that seems to run in the family. My father was a movie reviewer for the Daytona Beach News Journal for a dozen years, and I reviewed movies myself for the Louisville Times in Louisville, Colorado, from 1994-2001. That included attending the 1996 Cannes Film Festival as a journalist where I saw 27 movies in 9 days. One of my brothers, K.C., is a First Assistant Director in Hollywood. Look for his name at the top of the end credits. Thanks to this connection I was hired as a “Comet Advisor” on the 1998 movie “Deep Impact“, a position that also earned me a brief appearance in the movie with a small speaking part. My daughter, Aylia, now has her sights set on a professional acting career.

I am also a proud Trekkie, terrible piano player, and a huge Jethro Tull fan.

Here‘s an explanation of the psychedelic display of Saturn’s rings in my blog banner.

2 thoughts on “About Josh Colwell

  1. Dear Josh,
    I’m just finishing up 3 months of medical leave. Just before Christmas I slipped on the ice and broke the top of my hip completely off and had an emergency hip replacement. I’m only 58 so found it very surprising to beak a hip. I survived my long rehab by listing to many new podcasts like yours! To celebrate getting back to work as a respiratory therapist in a local hospital, I’m trying to collect a sticker from each of my favorite podcasts to put on the back of my laptop. Sort of a commemorative to my medical injury and rehab.
    If you have a sticker I could add to this collage I would love it!
    Thanks for your great podcast and possible stickers!
    Regards,and don’t smoke and watch where you step!!

    Kevin Marshall
    1701 W. Naches Ave.
    Yakima, WA 98942

    Marsneter@gmail.com

  2. Hi Kevin. Thank you for the note, and I’m sorry for the very long delay in responding to you! I’m afraid with other projects going I let this blog go untended for a while. I’m hoping to resume regular updates and posts. I hope that you have recovered from your hip replacement. I have a friend who is younger than you who has had both hips replaced, and he’s doing great. I hope you are still enjoying Walkabout the Galaxy. I am looking into ways to make some simple merchandise for the podcast. Stickers are a great idea. I hope you are following us on Facebook as we are much better about updating information there than here. However, when I manage to get that ready I’ll make sure you get one. Josh

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