Eighth grade - that's when I first became interested in high-energy physics. In 1983 I had read articles in Discover Magazine about the search and discovery of the W and Z bosons when CERN's SPS ran as a proton-antiproton collider. To a 13 year old kid growing up in Greensburg, PA, it sounded pretty cool to use particle accelerators miles around and experiments as big as houses to study subatomic particles that existed for much less than a blink of an eye. As an undergraduate at Penn State University, I earned degrees in physics and mathematics, and I worked on simulations of a scintillating fiber tracking system for the SDC detector - that was one of the experiments intended for the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC), but it was never completed after SSC construction was canceled in 1993.
While a PhD student at the University of Michigan, I joined the L3 experiment on CERN's LEP electron-positron collider. I had never been abroad previously, so it was a fantastic experience to live near Geneva, Switzerland for a couple of years. My wife and I enjoyed it immensely - three of our first four wedding anniversaries were spent in Europe. (Sadly, we haven't kept up that fraction.) We still have very good friends whom we met while in Geneva. I stayed at Michigan as a post-doc where I worked on the CDF experiment. We were quite busy designing, building and testing electronics for an upgraded detector for Run 2 of the Tevatron proton-antiproton collider at Fermilab. There's nothing quite like "getting your hands dirty" working with a piece of hardware for your experiment and then watching it all come together from universities and institutions all around the world.
My career took a little turn in 2001 when I joined Fermilab as a scientist in the Accelerator Division's Tevatron Department. Run 2 had begun just a few months before, so now I had a great opportunity in helping deliver beam to the CDF and D0 experiments. Without any formal accelerator physics experience, I had a lot of on-the-job training and studying to do. But how many people have a chance to play with the world's highest energy particle accelerator?
Currently I am Head of the Tevatron Department and Run 2 is going strong thanks to the efforts of many people across Fermilab. I am still part of the CDF collaboration where I am working on an analysis of the Bcmeson mass and lifetime. Running the Tevatron occupies most of my time, but I put enough blood, sweat and tears into CDF as a post-doc that I want to get some physics out of it.
My family and I live in Batavia, IL, just a few miles from Fermilab. We love living near Chicago and enjoy taking the train to visit the museums and the Lake Michigan shore. I enjoy running and bike-riding, but I wish there were more hills around here - running the steps of Wilson Hall just doesn't have the same satisfaction as pounding up real hills on a nice dirt trail.
I look forward to sharing some of my experiences from both running an accelerator and working on a high-energy physics experiment!