Work that Joe has been a part of:

(Here is my CV. Here is extracurricular writing.)

Science and Technology Policy

I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working under Helen Nissenbaum and the HHS SHARPS grant on issues of health privacy and security, from a policy perspective.

From 2008-2011, I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow jointly affiliated with the UC Berkeley School of Information and Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy. In 2008, I earned my PhD from UC Berkeley. My dissertation examined public policy mechanisms for making computerized voting systems more transparent. I continued work in that vein, supported by the NSF ACCURATE center.

In 2003, I left astrophysics for the world of science and technology policy. After getting my MA in Astrophysics from the UC Berkeley Department of Astronomy, I became a PhD student at UC Berkeley's School of Information (iSchool) where I worked on issues in high technology policy, law and computer science.

My advisers and mentors have included Caitlin Griffith, Peter Lyman, Deirdre Mulligan, Pam Samuelson, Ed Felten and Helen Nissenbaum. I teach, advise, consult and do a variety of other things, mostly reflected in my CV for scholarly work. I've also keept a blog called "Not Quite a Blog" (v2.0, v1.0) where I write infrequently.


Please see my CV/Resumé.

Joe's Astrophysical Research

(This was written around 2003.)

My research interests have largely been centered in planetary science (the science concerned with the occupants of our solar system and other systems like it). I have done specific investigations into the atmospheric characteristics of the largest moon of Saturn, Titan with my undergraduate mentor, Caitlin Griffith.

Titan is one of only four rocky bodies in our solar system with a significant atmosphere (Can you guess what the other three are? Hint: you live on one of them. click here for the answer). It is the second largest moon in the solar system (after Ganymede of Jupiter) and is bigger than both Mercury and Pluto.

One thing that has been puzzling scientists since astronomers started to study Titan, is Titan's massive atmosphere. The pressure at Titan's surface is about one and a half times what we feel here on Earth. Titan is large as moons go ( click here to see a comparsion of Earth, Titan and the Moon), but it does not have enough gravity to hold on to its atmosphere... just think, it takes the gravity of the whole earth to hold on to our atmosphere and Titan's is roughly 1.5 times the size of ours!!! So, either we happen to be seeing Titan at a very special time in it's life, or there must be something that is replenishing Titan's atmosphere that we don't know about. Without something continually supplying the atmosphere, all the gases and stuff in the atmosphere would literally float away into space in a short amount of time (compared to how long Titan will be around).

With the research I and my collegues have done, we are starting to understand that Titan, more than likely, has an atmospheric cycle similar to the Earth's hydrologic cycle. What is the Earth's hydrologic cycle? It's the processes that allows water to change in and out of it's many forms (water, ice and gas) here on Earth. For example, water from lakes and seas evaporates to form clouds which eventually rain out in the form of water or snow (a form of ice) on to the ground... which will probably evaporate once again. We think a similar cycle takes place on Titan but with Methane (CH4) forming seas, lakes, clouds and rain.

Stay tuned!!! The Cassini/Huygens mission will visit Saturn and Titan starting in 2004. The Cassini spacecraft has many interesting experiments, cameras and spectrometers as well as a probe (the Huygens probe) that will actually drop into the atmosphere of Titan!

Last updated on:
Time-stamp: <2012-02-16 13:53:59 josephhall>