David A. Joiner


Currently I am the Kenneth L. Estabrook Professor of Science, Technology, and Mathematics Education in the New Jersey Center for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education at Kean University in Union, NJ, where I teach Computational and Applied Mathematics and introductory Physics. I maintain a 1040-core 11TFlop peak computer cluster, and my research interests involve educational uses of supercomputing and stochastic optimization applied to the interpretation of astronomical spectra.

Up until September 2004, I have been performing post-doctoral work as a staff scientist with the Shodor Education Foundation, in Durham, NC, and still partner with them on many projects.

My work for Shodor focused on the Computational Science Education Reference Desk, development of the MASTER tools suite, and development of parallel computing curriculum for the National Computational Science Institute.

I completed my doctoral thesis in 1999 in the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, NY.  My thesis research was in the Astrophysics group with my advisor, Chun Ming Leung, in Theoretical Astrophysics. My research interests include numerical modeling of astrophysical phenomena, polarized radiative transfer, the nature of circumstellar and interstellar dust, and the use of computer and communications technology to facilitate scientific education and research.

Distance has played a large role in my life. I completed my thesis in New York, while living in NC, while my advisor was on leave with the Open University of Hong Kong. In my final year of grad school, I taught an AP Physics class in Cobleskill, NY, via distance education, from Rensselaer, while my then fiancee was in school in Greensboro. As a result, I've gained a huge appreciation for and interest in the role of communications and information technology in breaking geographic barriers.

I am also interested in the formation, growth, and processing of dust grains in different environments, and have just completed my thesis project calculating grain growth in nova shells. I presented some preliminary results in San Diego at the 192nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society. I gave my thesis talk in Atlanta, where everyone got to hear about how the limited presence of hydrogen on seed nuclei can bring models of nucleation and subsequent grain growth in novae into a zeroth order agreement with observations. At some point I'm going to write this up and submit it. Really, I will.

Another one of my research interests is the self-consistent calculation of the state of polarization of radiation from an object embedded in a spherical dust shell. I'm interested in seeing if there are any new diagnostics that can be used to link obsrevations and models. This got moth-balled for a while when I was writing my thesis, but has recently been submitted as an ApJ article, "Modeling the Transport of Polarized Radiation due to Scattering in Spherical Dust Shells ," The Astrophysical Journal, 593:402-412, 2003 August 10.

My first project at RPI was the creation of an interface to run a radiative transfer code on Windows.

If you wish, you may take a look at my (always out of date) curriculum vitae. Lyn, Jaycie, and I are currently living in New Jersey, and pictures of us, the baby, the cats, etc. are always out of date anyway, so no attempts to put any here. If you are a friend or family member and I don't have you on my email list for pictures, let me know.

I'm a big believer that computation applies to more than just science, but can help answer the more trivial questions in life, such as optimizing dart scores and Magic the Gathering Decks.


e-mail me at djoiner "at" comcast.net.

These pages last updated on 8-4-09.