When Antarctica Just Isn't Cold Enough: South Pole Telescope (SPT) Fridge Cycle

As you might have heard on my website, my newsletter, my Twitter, or, if we’re colleagues at Caltech, at work, I am currently working on the South Pole Telescope (SPT) onsite at the South Pole in Antarctica for January-November 2016 (I am employed by the University of Chicago). I have taken a sabbatical from my NSF Astronomy Read More …

book review: Quantum Computing Since Democritus

There is both room for and a need for many different types of physicists and scientists to kick progress up a notch. Some of the most mind-stretching and inspiring are those who are philosophical about their work, as well as those who are interdisciplinary in their understanding. Scott Aaronson fits in both camps and shares Read More …

Happy Academic New Year, 2015

June 1, 2015 I was thrilled to start my 3 year tenure as an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow (NSF AAPF) at Caltech. I am therefore declaring June 1 as my official academic New Year. I’m treating this fellowship period as my shot to make a scientific difference, and here’s to the next 3 years. I have an structured routine scheduled, Read More …

#OCCUPYMARS: my experience as a SpaceX intern

I spent my Fall as an intern in propulsion analysis at SpaceX. I had unparalleled mentors in rocketry, computational physics and software engineering. The intern program is top-notch, and to me represented the most effective “in” to the notoriously selective and demanding company. Moreover, the internship duration was a perfect interlude in my academic career. Read More …

Finding earth like planets from the comfort of our own planet

Gravitational lensing results from the fact that General Relativity describes our universe: mass bends light and can function in effect like a lens, bending light in ways that can be used to infer the mass distribution itself. Gravitational microlensing is due to this same effect, but refers to the detection of objects which are of Read More …

Cold dark matter heats up – a review of a review

This is a review of the recent paper, to be published in Nature, by Andrew Potzen and Fabio Governato Cold dark matter heats up. The paper is itself a review, containing information published in previous studies. I gave a presentation about it at our weekly Astrophysics journal club. The figure in the header is M82, Read More …

Road To Reality–Part I

This past year I read Roger Penrose’s The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe

The tome is definitely the read for anyone interested in our current understanding of reality from the ground up. It doesn’t shy away from mathematics like most popular science accounts. Rather, as mathematics is the gasoline to travel the Road, it fuels the reader up along the journey. Yet the mathematics quickly progresses from exploring what a number exactly is to a graduate level textbook equivalent and this whirlwind journey is not to be taken lightly. Rather than a Road, I actually consider The Road to Reality to be more of a Roadmap indicating a path to reality without fully providing the reader with the tools to travel it. It worked for me–a Physics PhD student–as most of the book was putting familiar things in a grander context. However, for those not on the Road as a career, supplemental work is probably needed to get the most out of the book. In the that spirit I am presenting a condensed Roadmap in chunks of 6 chapters (there are a whopping 34 chapters covering 1123 pages) with additional links to online courses (primarily sourced from the wonderful Khan academy, Coursera, and MIT OCW).

Without further ado, I present the Roadmap I of VI of Chapters 1-6 of The Road to Reality: Read More …