Bio

I’m a tenured theoretical physicist and cosmologist at the Institute for Theoretical Physics (IPhT), CEA-Saclay and University of Paris-Saclay since July 2015.

This means I get to ask questions for a living.

The cosmology bit means I sometimes ask big questions about the beginning of the universe, and how it got to be the way it is now, and where it might be going. The theoretical physicist bit means the questions themselves have to make sense; they should fit into some sort of framework through which we hope to apprehend the rules of the universe in general.

In fact, as a Declarative Theoretical Physicist, I strive to allow the art of achieving the what in my predictions to dictate the stories of the how. Towards this end I study and looks for new structures in the scattering amplitudes of relativistic quantum field theories.

I joined IPhT and moved to Europe as an awardee of the 2014 call for European Research Commission Starting Grants. I’ve been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton,NJ and held a postdoctoral position at the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics. I received my doctorate at UCLA in 2010, after earning my undergraduate degree from Caltech in 2005.

Before graduating from Caltech, I worked as a programmer at Jobtrak Corporation, then as a software and research engineer/scientist at Goto.com/Overture.com where I was responsible for data insight, search serving optimization, winning two patents, and helping begin Overture Research Labs (eventually Yahoo! Labs).

Having been one of the unfortunately few beneficiaries of successfully transitioning from industry into research-driven academia, I’ve developed some opinions. For the most part, theoretical Physics and industry are separated by a semi-permeable membrane flowing the other way. I strongly feel it is in the best interests of both for there to be much more bi-directional cross-over. Indeed if you are not in academia, but you have interest in contributing to fundamental research, please feel free to drop me a line.

I currently live with Liz and our four children on Île Saint Louis, in central Paris.

When not thinking/doing/coding/teaching/sharing science for fun and profit, I run, skate, play (with) my violin, and cook, whilst continuously parenting and spousing.

Honors & Awards

  • ERC Starting Grant 2014, Principle Investigator, preQFT: Strategic Predictions for Quantum Field Theories (2015-).
  • John F. Templeton Grant, Co-leader with Renata Kallosh, Quantum Gravity Frontiers (2012-2015).
  • Julian S. Schwinger Named Diploma, Erice International School of Subnuclear Physics (2011).
  • Best Theoretical Physics Prize, Erice International School of Subnuclear Physics (2011).
  • Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics, Postdoctoral Research Scholar Fellowship (2010-2013).
  • Guy Weyl Physics Alumni Graduate Fellowship (2007-2010).
  • John S. Bell Named Diploma, Erice International School of Subnuclear Physics (2008).
  • Best [open] Question Prize 1, Erice International School of Subnuclear Physics (2008).
  1. re: economy of physical descriptions, c.f. the amount of information encoded in real numbers. 

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