An Interview: Dr. John Moores

What is your educational background?

I did my undergrad in Engineering Science at University of Toronto, and then a PhD in Planetary Science at University of Arizona.

What is your most memorable project?

My most memorable project is the Huygens Probe, since it was the first space mission that I had worked on. It is the first spacecraft that has ever descended on Titan, so it was an exciting mission to begin with. I was developing radiative transfer simulations of Titanian atmosphere and matching them up with images taken by the spacecraft. We were looking for clouds, changes in aerosols, etc.

We worked in a big team with European Space Agency, and I got to be one of the first dozen people to see the surface of Titan. It was fun!

It was interesting to see how Mother Nature likes to surprise us: how imperfect data can be. I find the same with other missions as well—against all the theories, data is never as good or as bad as you expect.

If you could create any course at York, which course would you create?

A course on geophysics of planetary surfaces.

Which part of teaching is the most exciting to you?

It is always rewarding to see students getting interested in the subject, to see their grades improve and how they succeed at the end, even if they started out shaky.

What do you like about York the most?

It’s a pretty campus – especially in the summer, when it is nice and quiet.

Favorite building at York?

Scott Library, because it has a big and spacious atrium.

Favorite color?


Favorite food?

Chocolate. My wife is a project manager at Cadbury, so I have no choice!

Favorite movie?


What do you do in your free time?

I run; I also like racket sports, such as badminton, squash, and tennis.

Where would you like to travel to?

Asutralia – it is a big open country by the ocean. I grew up by the coast, and kind of miss that.

Interesting fact about yourself?

I used to work for RCMP.

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