I'm a 1st year PhD student at Brown University, and I majored in Astronomy, Physics, and Math at the University of Washington. My first-year research project (with Professor Brad Marston in the Physics department) will be to investigate the ergodicity of initial flows in planetary atmosphere simulations.

My current primary research interest is to run highly-generalizable 3D models of planetary atmospheres - models that can be used to stimulate both paleoclimates and exoplanets. In particular, I love adjusting parameters to see what happens. This may be difficult to do with 3D GCMs, so I may someday need to learn how to use clever experimental design in order to explore the contours of planetary habitability in a multi-dimensional parameter space. Of course, that is just a small part of the larger picture that I really want to understand - my ultimate objective is to learn everything I consider fundamental to existence - namely - the origin and evolution of planets, life, intelligence, and consciousness.

I love receiving feedback of all types, so if you've noticed anything interesting or amusing on my page, please email me so that I can be encouraged to write more of what you want me to write. If you want to provide anonymous feedback, just register for a Quora account, go anonymous, and privately ask me to answer a question on Quora by at-mentioning me (it won't cost you any Quora credits that way). One of the easiest ways to learn about me is to learn more about the INTP personality type, as I'm a hardcore INTP.

I think of everything as a small subset of everything that's potentially realizable. But, of course, I need focus to be a scientist, so for now, I mostly focus on learning the things that are relevant for modelling planetary atmospheres with CAM3 models. For one result that has come out so far, see What would the climate be like on an earth-like planet with a 90-degree axial tilt?. Of course, one thing is that I do like to tweak the parameters in all sorts of crazy/extreme ways just to see what happens. This may actually be more important than it seems, since we have to do this if we want our models to be robust.

Right now, I spend much of my time learning - not just in school, but also on my own. Of course, as there is more and more to learn, it takes longer and longer to learn everything that you need to learn these days [2012 UPDATE: I'm starting to become more focused and practical - limited bandwidth really makes it impractical to learn everything there is, and I'm also starting to realize that there is a point where it's better to just pay someone]. Computing, in particular, is one of the areas that I really spend a lot of time learning (in fact, I consider the entire undergraduate and graduate computer science curriculum to be of relevance). I also consider the entire undergrad+graduate applied math and statistics curricula to be relevant as well. Of course, there is only so much time to do everything, which is why I spend my entire day trying to learn things. For astrobiology in particular, I feel like I need to learn multiple areas up to the graduate student level - evolutionary biology, computer science, applied math, statistics, astronomy, atmospheric science, earth science, and others. In particular, I really want to (sometime) visualize the flow of information between the hard drive, RAM, CPU caches, CPU, GPU, and display. I am nowhere close to succeeding (nor will I ever be), but I do try to keep up with the latest research papers in multiple subfields - animal intelligence, psychopharmacology, atmospheric science, and, of course, exoplanets (although in some cases, I am trying to kick the habit instead). My favorite book of all-time is probably E.O. Wilson's Consilience, and my favorite scientist of all time is probably E.O Wilson too.

I also like automating things, so I spend much of my time thinking about how I can automate X,Y, and Z, and how I can maximize d(science)/dt subject to various constraints. This is why I'm especially concerned about issues such as the decline of fluid IQ with age, and the decline of scientific creativity with age. This is also why I'm particularly interested in the psychology of science, and in adopting computational techniques for scientific problems. I'm also interested in sharing things with others, and in the "optimal" method to share. Finally, I'm extremely interested in the Internet as a medium for communicating science. I often like to google the URLs of various scientific groups just to see their google exposure. It may be true that as the working-age population consists more and more of digital natives, that the primary means of "discovery" may change.

While I will do a lot in the realm of scientifically testable hypotheses, I also have a number of philosophical interests and like to think about the bigger picture (in the most extreme way - that of possibility space).

I also have a lot of "guilty" academic interests. Suffices to say that I practically leave no area untouched, except for the Humanities (and some areas of engineering, public policy, macroeconomics, and chemistry) - and consider every interest a possible academic field. If I have a medical concern, I will scour the web for journal articles (and relative risks) on it - until I'm sufficiently convinced that I left nothing of substance untouched. I even read psychology and political science papers and blogs for fun (especially political psychology). I don't exactly know what happened, but when I was a young teenager, I convinced myself to feel guilty whenever I knew less than anyone else in any field, and consequently, I ended up studying everyone else's own field. And while I'm now trying to specialize more, I've learned many fields up to the point that new information from the research journals is just too interesting. Even my knowledge of history and demographics can be incredibly dense, especially for some periods of time. Back when I played computer games more often (I rarely play them now since I've realized that they convince you that you're playing (with arbitrarily-set rewards and time-to-reward ratios) when you're really performing menial labor), I even convinced myself that I *had* to learn the "educational content" from those games, even though the content in many of these games (mostly military history) isn't really relevant for today (although you could use operations research to analyze the outcome of particular battles, like the Battle of Kursk). I am glad to learn, however, that the GPUs used for gaming graphics can now be immensely useful for scientific computing. You can always view my latest activity on Google Plus if you want (Warning: Massive amounts of esoteric articles from all sorts of esoteric fields). Part of the reason is also that I want to completely convince myself that I chose the field that's best for me (without leaving any doubt), but I've convinced myself (for several years by now) that planetary science really is the best field for me. I debated between planetary science and theoretical biology for some time, but biology departments have certain interpersonal issues that planetary science departments simply don't have.


Old Things of Mine