Senior Research Scientist
Dr. Richard G. French attended Cornell University (BA in Physics, 1971, MS in Astronomy, 1975, and PhD in Astronomy, 1977) and then moved to Boston to became a Principal Research Scientist at MIT, with primary research interests in planetary rings and atmospheres. He joined the Astronomy Department faculty at nearby Wellesley College in 1981, where he served as Department Chair and Dean of Academic Affairs and was awarded the Pinanski Prize for teaching excellence. He was a science team member of the Cassini Mission to Saturn from 1990-2017, serving as Radio Science Team Leader for the final five years of the mission. He has used Earth-based telescopes around the world to observe stellar occultations by planets and their rings, the Hubble Space Telescope to study the rings and moons of Saturn, and most recently as a team member to observe the rings of Chariklo from the James Webb Space Telescope. He retired from Wellesley College in 2023, when he joined SSI. His other interests include hiking, trekking, and photography.