Canadian Astronomer, Father of UH Physics Prof Featured at Physics Colloquium

A well-known Canadian scientist specializing in the evolution and dynamics of our solar system and galaxy will speak at a Feb. 6 Physics Colloquium at the University of Houston.

Kim Innanen, professor emeritus, York University, will speak at 4 p.m. in Room 634 of Science and Research Building 1. His talk, titled  “The Galactic Orbit of the Solar System,” will deal with the theoretical description of the solar system’s path around the galaxy.

Innanen is the father of Kristopher Innanen, UH assistant professor of physics.

In 1986, the senior Innanen and a Finnish colleague discovered an asteroid accompanying the Earth in its orbit. Other than the moon, the asteriod is the only natural companion to our planet. Their findings, published in Nature in 1997, helped to further explain our solar system’s origins.

With his Finnish colleague, Innanen also predicted the existence of Mars Trojans, the first of which was later discovered. The term “Trojans” refers to an asteroid or moon that shares the same orbit as a larger planet or moon.

Innanen is professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at York University, where he taught from 1966-2002 and was the dean of pure and applied science from 1986-1994. Prior to York, he was an assistant professor of mathematics and astronomy at the University of Western Ontario from 1963-66.

He has been a licensed professional engineer since 1960.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree in engineering physics from the University of Toronto, a Master of Science degree in applied mathematics from the University of Waterloo and a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Toronto.

Preceding Innanen’s talk, coffee and tea will be available in Room 616 of Science and Research Building 1.