If you ask a group of scientists what they were like growing up, you'll find that they usually fall into one of two camps: the kids who were really good at math growing up or the kids who took everything apart (and sometimes got them back together). I started out in the former clan, as a proto-theorist. And on that path I stayed until shortly after starting graduate school, at the University of Chicago, with the goal of studying general relativity. There I saw the light, joined an experimental cosmic ray group and since then I’ve kept myself busy both taking apart, and putting together, lots of fun toys.
I grew up in Connecticut and as a result I say "tag sale" when talking about what others may well call a garage sale or a yard sale, and I always pronounce the final "R" in area and idea. Since then I’ve managed to travel to an outstandingly large number of interesting places, often for work, and acquired some good stories and some odd experiences. (Yes, I have bowled on all seven continents.)
My research work is in particle astrophysics, studying the cosmic rays and high-energy neutrinos. Among my past projects have been the HET instrument on the Ulysses spacecraft; the HEAT antimatter balloon experiment; the CREAM long-duration balloon program; the ANITA Askaryan pulse neutrino balloon experiment over Antarctica; and the Pierre Auger cosmic ray observatory in Argentina.
Currently I work at the University of Wisconsin's IceCube Research Center on the HAWC TeV gamma ray observatory being built in Mexico and the ARA neutrino observatory under construction near the South Pole. I travel annually to the South Pole for this work.
I have twin daughters who are nearly perfect. And am generally interested in most everything.