About Me

I am currently a postdoctoral scholar working with Professor Jamie Bock at Caltech. My primary interest is studying the early Universe, in particular inflation and reionization. I came to Caltech as a Moore fellow in 2009 to work on the Keck Array with Jamie Bock and Andrew Lange in their observational cosmology group. I work on the TIME reionization imaging spectrometer and the Keck Array CMB telescope at the South Pole. I specialize in telescope design and assembly, detector development, and data analysis

I have my PhD in physics from Case Western Reserve University where I worked on the South Pole Telescope with Prof. John Ruhl

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Current Research

Inflation describes the time period when the Universe sprang in to being. If this brief, but dramatic expansion occurred, it should have created a gravitational background that would distort the polarization of the CMB. With a series of targeted experiments, I seek to measure this inflationary B-mode signal and help shape the picture of how our Universe began. The Keck Array is a unique telescope that uses small apertures to allow for an elegant optics design and large focal planes. By the end of winter 2011 we deployed the full compliment of five telescopes at the geographic South Pole.

The period after the Big Bang and recombination is called the dark ages. New telescopes and cosmological probes are targeting this time period to see how the Universe transformed from a more featureless one dominated by neutral gas into one filled with the structures we see today. Reionization describes the time period when the very first structures formed and generated enough light to completely ionize the Universe. I am interested in figuring out how the first structures formed, and which objects ionized the Universe, and when.

The Tomographic Ionized-Carbon Mapping Experiment (TIME) is setting out to probe reionization by making a 3-D image of the Universe at high redshift. The C+ line traces star formation and is one of the brightest lines in galaxies. With a rest-frame wavelength of 158 microns, it redshifts between z~5-9 in the mm-wave bands. Detecting the individual galaxies responsible for reionization is difficult. This has been shown with the ambitious Hubble ultra deep field measurements that is detecting a handful of extremely luminous z>6 galaxies. Our measurement uses an emerging technique that is sensitive to the integrated light produced by faint galaxies: spectral intensity mapping with 3-D spatial and spectral information to study EoR star formation rate density.

PhD: The South Pole Telescope

I worked on the South Pole Telescope (SPT) for my dissertation. I helped build a large part of the telescope, called the cold secondary baffle. I also spent 10 contiguous months at the South Pole deploying and operating the telescope.

My PhD thesis project resulted in the first ever discovery of galaxy clusters using the Sunyaev Zel'dovich effect. This was quite exciting, as the CMB community had been attempting to use the SZ effect to find galaxy clusters for quite some time. The SPT has now discovered hundreds of galaxy clusters and is using the number counts of clusters to constrain among other things, Dark Energy.