About me: I grew up in northern Westchester County, New York, first in a 200 year old farmhouse, then in an ultramodern cube-shaped building constructed right across the street. The 500-foot move was tragic and difficult, but I found new friends on the other side of the street in due course. I am occasionally mistaken as a non-nerd; two minutes of conversation will dispel this illusion. After I graduated high school, my family moved into midtown Manhattan, quite a change, although I am the only member of my close family not to have lived in Manhattan; in fact Austin is now the largest city which I have called home! Also, by far, the warmest. After a triumphant return to the East Coast, I now live in the most scenic area of Baltimore, Fells Point...
Research: I have completed my doctoral thesis from the University of Rochester under Professor Dan M. Watson; I studied the exchange between young stars and their birth clouds, in the form of infall (accretion disks, envelopes), and ejecta (outflows/jets). I was also a Research Associate at the University of Texas at Austin, working primarily with Professor Neal J. Evans, II. Both my thesis project and postdoctoral projects involve state-of-the-art data analysis using the most sensitive infrared space telescopes ever developed -- the Spitzer Space Telescope (NASA/IPAC), the Herschel Space Observatory (ESA), the Chandra X-ray Observatory (NASA/CXC), and the SOFIA Airborne Observatory (NASA/USRA). I am now the principal investigator of a quartet of projects to observe dramatic flaring events in protostars. I'm now the Project Scientist in the Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), who are in command of the Hubble and upcoming James Webb Space Telescopes (NASA/STScI)!
Music: I was a principal oboist of the University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra from 2000-2008 (URCO). In Austin I have been a member of a large number of community groups, including the University of Texas University Orchestra (UTUO), the Balcones Community Orchestra, the Austin Philharmonic, the Austin Symphonic Band, and various smaller ensembles. I also dabble in clarinet and alto saxophone. I now appear on studio albums as an oboist, clarinetist, alto saxophonist, and "man choir"! I now have a legitimate Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number of 11 (4 + 3 + 4) (newly improved!), tied with Natalie Portman and Colin Firth. I am (technically) a Grammy-nominated artist.
Softball: I was a member of several intramural softball teams at Rochester, including Captain of the newly formed Quantum Fielders (my skills have improved considerably, at least while batting, since 2001...) -- and now a co-founder of the UT astronomy department softball team, the Ultra Deep Fielders!
Writing: In addition to research, I have been known to write some very silly things. None of it, however, has impressed magazine editors, who are clearly out of touch. I do have one astronomy outreach article published in Mercury Magazine. Some of my sci-fi writing is featured on civilization.com under the "Systematic Destiny" series.
Talks: The luxurious surrounding of the Heidelberg Stadthalle (above) is the setting for the largest and most recent professional talk I have given, summarizing a Chapter on episodic accretion (flaring young stars) in the upcoming book Protostars & Planets VI (lead author: Dr. Marc Audard). I have given talks on astronomy in a number of fun outreach forums, including Nerd Nite Austin (twice!) (actually three times now) the University of Texas KVRX radio program (twice!) and Google's Tech Talk. I'm now co-boss and co-founder of Nerd Nite Baltimore (premiere Jan. 17, 2016) and Astronomy on Tap Baltimore. As the Project Scientist for Hubble and Webb outreach and communications, my job is now focused on creating new opportunities to communicate science to the world in innovative new ways, more than I can possibly list here...
Barbecues: With the exception of February 2007, I hosted at least one BBQ party in every calendar month from August 2006 to June 2011 (November 2008 was the first one in Austin; September and October 2008, and January and March 2009, and June 2011 were at the University Ave. residence of my friends in the BCS Department at Rochester... the rest from August 2006 - August 2008 were at my former Lattimore Road residence in Rochester.) For the original half-dozen events there were about 5-6 people attending-- but the October 2008 BBQ recorded in excess of 40 people! The Austin BBQs have continued and expanded the tradition to include Theme Names, and Pool Party Movie Watching. Austin is, of course, the center of "barbecue" in the southern sense; the most tender brisket, ribs, sausage you'll find... And in Baltimore I bring the wonders of breakfast tacos to the mid-Atlantic.
Public Outreach: I also enjoy communicating science to the public, in some fairly unusual venues. This has increased manyfold in my new position.