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About Me

I am an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM). I work with DTM staff scientist John Chambers as a Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow. I recently finished my Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of Oklahoma, where I worked with professor Nate Kaib. I successfully defended my Ph.D. Thesis on April 9, 2019. Last fall, I lived in Bordeaux, France, and worked with CNRS scientist Sean Raymond at the University of Bordeaux. Before arriving starting graduate school, I spent 5 years on active duty in the Navy, where I was stationed on the nuclear powered fast attack submarine USS TOPEKA (SSN-754). I first served as the ship's Chemistry and Radiological Controls Officer, and later as the Assistant Engineer. I was also a qualified Navy Scuba Diver and served as the ship's Diving Division Officer.

In 2015 I transferred to the active reserves and started graduate school at OU. My research interests include the formation and dynamical evolution of the solar system, and that of other similar systems of planets elsewhere in the galaxy that might harbor life. In particular, I utilize numerical, N-body computer simulations to study the early evolution of the solar system. The codes I use and modify are publicly available integrators including MERCURY, SWIFT, REBOUND and GENGA that are specifically designed to study planetary dynamics. I run large suites of simulations on various supercomputers including the National Center for Supercomputing Applications' (NCSA) 13.3 PFLOP Blue Waters Supercomputer in Illinois, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center's (PSC) 2 PFLOP BRIDGES cluster, the Open Science Grid, and on Carnegie's own Memex HPC cluster.

In particular, my work focuses on the formation and long-term dynamical stability of the four terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars). Understanding the evolution of the young solar system provides us with insight in to the likelihood of life existing elsewhere in the Universe. During my first few years of graduate school, I explored the consequences that a dynamical instability between the giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) would have on the forming terrestrial planets. Recently, I have been using graphs processing units (GPUs; which greatly speed up simulations by performing calculations in parallel) to continue this investigation, and reevaluate the common initial conditions used when studying terrestrial planet formation.

Outside of school and the Navy my hobbies include playing guitar, weight training and swimming. My wife Carolyn and I got married in 2016. I am also a lifelong fan of the LA Dodgers, Lakers and Oklahoma Sooners. Below are some cool pictures from Mt. Whitney, an Arctic deployment, Navy Dive School in Panama City, FL and the top of the submarine.