Alex is interested is in using DES to understand the fundamental nature of dark matter. His research focuses finding and studying Milky Way satellite galaxies, which are the smallest and most dark-matter-dominated galaxies known. The proximity, simplicity, and high dark matter content of these systems makes them ideal laboratories for testing the fundamental properties of dark matter.
Alex’s background is in experimental astrophysics, and he is involved in many aspects of DES operations, data process, and data analysis. Alex is co-convener of the Milky Way Science Working group and has previously served as coordinator of the Science Release Group.
We asked Alex a few more questions — here’s what he had to say:
What is your favorite part about being a scientist?
The freedom to choose what I work on and the fact that my job is also my favorite hobby.
Do you have any hobbies or play any sports?
I’m a pretty serious ultimate frisbee player. I’ve competed in the US National Championships at the college and club level. I also played semi-professionally for three years in Chicago. I got paid enough to buy a couch!
What is your favorite space-related image, and why?
I have always been really struck by Barnard’s Cloud (Barnard 68, right). A reminder that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.
What is your favorite book, movie, and/or TV show?
My favorite TV show (or at least the one I have spent the most time watching) is Star Trek. I grew up on TNG and DS9. Nowadays, I play episodes in the background for a comforting stream of pseudo-scientific jargon…
What do you think has been the most exciting advance in science / technology in the last 10 years?
I’ve been amazed by pocket internet (aka smart phones). Having nearly ubiquitous and instantaneous access to the sum of human knowledge is quite a revolution.
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
Science, at least the kind that we do in DES, is a very social job. Find people that you like working with.