- About PSI
Dr. Stuart Weidenschilling conducts theoretical research on the origin of the solar system. He is particularly interested in the aerodynamic interactions of solid paricles and gas in the primordial solar nebula, and their implications for the formation of planetesimals from microscopic dust grains.. He has developed a numerical code that models coagulation of grains into larger bodies, taking account their mechanical properties and motions induced by gas drag and turbulence. He uses this code to investigate the formation of small bodies in the solar system, such as asteroids and comets. He also studies models for the origin of chondrules, small spherical igneous particles found in many types of metrorites.Dr. Weidenschilling also conducts numerical simulations of the accretion of planetesimals into planets, using a unique multi-zone computer code that models collisions and gravitational interactions of bodies ranging in size from a few meters to thousands of kilometers. He is using this code to investigate the formation and thermal histories of asteroids, the evolution of comets in the Kuiper belt, and the formation of giant planets in the outer solar system, as well as extra-solar planets.
Dr. Weidenschilling attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned degrees in aeronautical engineering before receiving his PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences in 1976. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, then joined the permanent science staff of PSI in 1978. He has served on the editorial board of Icarus and on numerous NASA proposal review panels. He is a member of the Division of Planetary Sciences and Division of Dynamical Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the Meteoritical Society. He has authored or co-authored more than 90 publications in the refereed scientific literature, including many review chapters in books of the University of Arizona's Space Science series.
Minor Planet 3639 Weidenschilling
1990, 1992, 1997, Editor's Commendation for outstanding reviews, Icarus
1994, Fellow of the American Geophysical Union
2006, Fellow of the Meteoritical Society