My Passion

I have been too busy to write much on my blog, so I am cheating a bit by posting here my biography from my Amazon.com author page.

I have always enjoyed science, and more broadly, reason. By shedding superstition and emotionally-based sloppy thinking, humans have made great progress in understanding the universe, from the fabric of spacetime, to clusters of galaxies, and everything in between, including life. Through an understanding of human evolution, we can appreciate our special place in the universe and marvel at the brain’s ability to think. In short, the scientific method allows us to know what was thought unknowable only a few decades ago.

I get obsessed with my interests. I decided to deal with the stresses of being a young faculty member by setting up a fish tank with my daughter. In just a few months, this relaxing hobby turned our basement into a tropical fish breeding facility with a dozen large tanks. Sales of my fish to a local pet store accelerated my acquisition of equipment until the stresses of taking care of thousands of living creatures forced me to sell all of my tanks and take up astro-photography, a more relaxing hobby (or so I thought). I compulsively bought telescopes and equipment until I was forced to build a small room off of our garage to store everything, including a computer system on a desk with wheels.

At other times in my life, I read science fiction, amassing a nice collection of novels, whose colorful dust jackets decorate the shelves in our family room. Yearning for facts, I dropped my passion for fiction to read about history, religion, science, political philosophy, I.Q., etc. To satisfy my appetite for physical activity, I play ice hockey as often as possible.

Yet, I spend most of my time thinking about Physics. No other activity is more satisfying than understanding how things work or more spiritual than pondering the most basic questions. My career spans highly applied research – such as co-developing a process for making polymer optical fibers (resulting in a start-up company), through very esoteric basic physics – using both experimental and theoretical techniques to build an understanding of universal properties of light-matter interactions.

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