Eric is most enthusiastic to work on projects at the intersection of software and science. He was part of the team who developed the software control system for the Dark Energy Camera, and has been involved with improving the algorithms we apply to our data to get as much information out of it as we can. Lately, he has been leading the development of a software package which very realistically simulates our survey, and runs the code on supercomputers. These simulations improve our survey by enabling us to understand the systematic effects which might otherwise contaminate the signals we seek to measure.
We asked Eric a few more questions — here’s what he had to say:
What is your favorite part about being a scientist?
Two Things. Number one is the people I collaborate with. I work with an awesome team. Number two is the mindset scientists adopt. It’s all about rational conclusions, quantifying the Universe as objectively as possible. I take pride in following that model of thought.
What motivates / inspires you?
What is your favorite space-related image, and why?
This image (right) of galaxy cluster RXJ-2248. It’s my favorite, because it was part of the first major paper I contributed to in grad school. It brings back memories of that time. Fun fact: I made this image myself from the DES data.
What is your favorite book, movie, and/or TV show?
TV — Seinfeld is definitely the greatest show of all time. Half the things I say are Seinfeld quotes, and the people I’m talking too don’t realize it. I also love Parks & Rec. Leslie Knope would have to be my favorite fictional character — so much I identify with.
Any other fun facts we should know?
If you’d like to learn more about the science I’ve mentioned here, here’s a link to my website.
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
You don’t have to be a genius to be a scientist. I don’t even remotely fit that bill. Hard work goes a long way.