Ever since encountering some insidious science propaganda hidden in PBS specials and library books back in elementary school, I have been fascinated by particle physics and cosmology - the fundamental workings of the universe on its smallest and largest scales - and especially by the connections between them. I find it amazing that over the past few decades we have made great strides in writing "the story of the universe", from its beginning to the present, and I hope in my career to contribute to that story and to its telling. To that end, I have completed a Ph.D. in physics and pursued research at the cutting edge of particle cosmology, seeking to fill out some of the dark places in our picture of the cosmos.
I also have a deep love of the teaching of science and an interest in issues facing educators. I have served as a course teaching assistant at both Harvard and Berkeley, and have assisted with outreach projects with the Berkeley Cosmology Group. For an introductory discussion of dark matter and cosmology, see the CDMS education pages.
I earned my Ph.D. with Prof. Bernard Sadoulet's group at Berkeley, working on the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS). CDMS, an experiment located in Soudan Mine in northern Minnesota, seeks to use particle physics detector technology to elucidate the nature of the cold dark matter that is believed to control the evolution of structure in our universe.
My work on CDMS included data analysis and detector characterization, commissioning and operations work at the Soudan mine, and studies of our experiment's relationship to supersymmetry models. I led the first data analysis using CDMS's full complement of 30 cryogenic detectors, which produced the most stringent limit to date on spin-independent dark matter interactions. Earlier in my graduate career I computed CDMS's first limits on spin-dependent WIMP interactions.
My dissertation is available on the CDMS dissertation page.
(No, this is not the same as "cosmetology". Yes, I've heard that one before.)
My current work at Caltech focuses on measurements of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background and its polarization using massive arrays of superconducting bolometers. I am currently involved with one running and two upcoming instruments:
- SPIDER: a balloon-borne observatory that will make multi-band polarization maps at large angular scales. SPIDER's maps will yield strong constraints on inflation and and reionization, as well as providing key information on foregrounds for satellite experiments.
- BICEP2/Keck: a sequence of ground-based instruments using similar focal planes to those employed by SPIDER. The BICEP2 instrument consists of a single monochromatic telescope, which was deployed for observation during the 2009-2010 austral winter and today continues in its second season of observations. The Keck array will consist of five similar instruments on the DASI mount. The first three such instruments were installed in the 2010-2011 austral summer.
Elementary Particle Physics
My senior research project at Harvard was a study of proton decay using data from Super-Kamiokande under Dr. Mark Messier (Harvard) and Prof. Ed Kearns (B.U.). The mode I eventually chose to look at was K*(892) ν - sorry to report that no signal was seen.
During the summer prior to my senior year at Harvard, I worked with Prof. Gary Feldman's group on MINOS, a long-baseline neutrino oscillation experiment at Fermilab and Soudan Mine. My main project was to work on software to describe the background flux of cosmic muons at the main detector in Soudan.