January 1, 2007

About the Author

I am an overly modest grad student in Physics with many profound and witty observations about the world around us. Right now I'm a graduate student at Brown University. My scientific interests are cosmology and astrophysics, and not merely because they sound the coolest. Among other things, I have an affinity for neutrinos, because they are the most antisocial and coolest-sounding particle, and my research involves weak gravitational lensing, which is exactly what it sounds like. Like many other grad students, I'm studying for a PhD because I have no other interests and my underdeveloped social skills preclude my spending much time in non-science situations. I have an upstanding departmental webpage here, that summarizes my nascent career and proves that I can write in LaTeX.

I am originally from Rhode Island, home of coffee milk and the nation's oldest Forth of July Parade. I first developed an interest in astronomy when quite young, and by hanging around at Brown, where, for unknown reasons, I was allowed to take a course in the subject. I was briefly home-schooled, and then attended a variety of institutions culminating with boarding school in Massachusetts. While in high school I acted in plays, studied Latin and Greek, started a Chess Club, and wrote ironic essays. At one point, I tricked the trustees into singing the national anthem of Imperial Russia. Our background was sort of lower-middle-class so I have had the unique experience of being the perennial financial aid kid from middle school up through swanky ivy-league college. That college was Dartmouth, where the lower-middle-class are hunted for sport.

I have this web-log because although I frequently joke about having a one track mind for science, I actually have eclectic interests and enjoy writing. I found I was sort of missing that type of thing. Luckily for you, I will spare the minutiae of daily life; not only would that be very boring, it would also be extremely stupid. I'll probably make an effort to cover important stories in physics, or mention various offenses against science and reason, but only when it's funny. But neither will I merely link to other blogs that link to other blogs that link to videos of cats playing musical instruments. I have made a deliberate effort to avoid profoundity.

The intended format of this blog is somewhere in between obscure science/history digressions and actual writing, usually in the form of wildly irresponsible theories. I also seem to be observing the intersection between science and culture a bit recently. The "highlights" section on the right feature some posts I would consider representative of what I am going for. The past few months have been decent too, so the archives for those should give you a good idea.

The name "Topography of Ignorance" is explained here (long obscure quote), and the "Two-Sheds" domain name here (Monty Python). Until recently the site had been called "Fish Heal Thyself" which not only didn't mean anything, but didn't even come close to meaning anything.

[Last updated 10/28/10]