Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
- Academic Coordinator, Behrend Physics
School of Science
Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
4205 College Drive
Erie, PA 16563-0203
Origin and dynamical evolution of planets and moons
Planetary climate and habitability
Impacts of comets and asteroids on the Earth
Williams, D.M. Capture of Terrestrial-sized Moons by Gas Giant Planets. To appear in The Astrobiology Journal
Williams, D.M.. 2011. The Planet Paparazzi: Earth Through the Lens of Interplanetary Spacecraft. Astrobio J., 11(5): 391-392.
Zugger, M.E., Kasting, J.F., Williams, D.M., Kane, T.J., Philbrick, C.R. 2011. Searching for Water Earths in the Near Infrared. Astrophys J., 739:12-17.
Zugger, M.E., Kasting, J.F., Williams, D.M., Kane, T.J., Philbrick, C.R. 2010. Light Scattering from Exoplanet Oceans and Atmospheres. Astrophys J., 723:1168-1179.
Williams, D.M. 2009. Space on the Plane: Encouraging Tales of a Traveling Astronomer. Sky and Telescope, April 2009.
Moskovitz, N.A., Gaidos, E., and Williams, D.M. 2009. The Effect of Lunar-like Satellites on the Orbital Infrared Light Curves of Earth-Analog Planets. Astrobiology. 9(3): 269-277.
Williams, D.M., and Gaidos, E. 2008. Detecting the Glint of Starlight on the Oceans of Distant Planets. Icarus. 195(2): 927-937.
Heroes Among Us, Commencement address at Jamestown Community College, Jamestown, NY. May 2012.
Commencement Speaker and 2012 Distinguished Alumni Honoree
2012: Year of the Planets, Astronomy Open House Night, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, Erie, PA. April 2012.
The 2012 Transit of Venus, Cambridge Springs High School, Cambridge Springs, PA. March 2012.
Snagging an Earth-Sized Moon around an Extrasolar Giant Planet, Kepler Science Conference; Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, CA. December 2011.
Halley Orbital Integration Software
D. Williams is the author of the orbital integration software package known as Halley. The Halley software is designed for student researchers to simulate the orbits of both real and imaginary planetary systems, with flexible user-controlled accuracy. Halley is written in IDL (Interactive Data Language) which is now distributed by Exelis, and freely available on many Penn State computing systems. Halley integrates the orbits of masses and test particles and is able to track close encounters and collisions. Output is saved in ascii files that can be used to make professional-quality 2D and 3D plots of the data.
Halley splash screen created by Hannah Williams, Penn State