Joshua Winn

Hertz Fellow: Joshua Winn

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Area of Study


Fellowship Years

1994 - 2001

Joshua (Josh) Winn, PhD, is a professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University. His research goals are to explore the properties of planets around other stars, to understand how planets form and evolve, and to make progress on the age-old question of whether there are other planets capable of supporting life. His group uses optical and infrared telescopes to study exoplanetary systems, especially those in which the star and planet eclipse one another.

Recent work has focused on the orbital architecture of planetary systems: the sizes, shapes, and orientations of the orbits, and the stellar obliquity. He was a participating scientist in the NASA Kepler mission and is a co-investigator in the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a mission scheduled for launch in late 2017. Over the years, he and his group have also pursued topics in stellar astronomy, planetary dynamics, radio interferometry, gravitational lensing, and photonic bandgap materials. In 2015, he recorded a series of 24 lectures on exoplanets, available from the Great Courses

Professor Winn graduated from MIT in 1994 with an SB and SM in physics. After spending a year as a Fulbright Scholar in the UK, at Cambridge University, he returned to MIT as a Hertz Fellow. While in graduate school, he worked in medical physics, condensed-matter physics, and astrophysics, and wrote for the science section of The Economist. After earning his PhD in physics in 2001, Winn subsequently held an NSF and a Hubble postdoctoral fellowships at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He was on the MIT physics faculty for 10 years, before moving to Princeton in 2016.

Josh is from Deerfield, Illinois.


2001 - A Search for Gravitational Lenses in the Southern Sky