For a long time, my intellectual and creative work seemed loosely connected. Reflecting on the past two decades, I’ve come to see that I have been guided by a few core questions:
How do the various ways in which we experience, understand, and emotionally connect with the world interact with one another? How do these interactions affect our pursuit of knowledge? Most importantly, how, if at all, can any of this help me make sense of my own existence and lead a good life?
In the process, I’ve often found myself crossing the borders of science, philosophy, and art.
My work in physics has been focused on research in the foundations of general relativity, specifically on the relation between its mathematical formalism and physical interpretation. I’ve been particularly interested in the correspondence between the mathematical and physical symmetries, and, more narrowly, on the utility of conformal and projective symmetries in distinguishing between the physical and gauge degrees of freedom of the gravitational field. The story (linked below) of how I found my way to this subject says something about the ways in which our emotional lives guide our intellectual pursuits, and the power of scientific metaphor to help us make sense of the unpredictable trials of life.
Through creative projects, I’ve been exploring the interplay of the various ways in which we conceive and engage with the world. These include Projections, visual representations of academic talks; Restruktura, an exercise in visually restructuring of the inner landscape; and Of Platonic Love (and Other Afflictions of the Heart), a failed attempt to construct a coherent visual vocabulary for various forms of human attachments. Much of my time is spent teaching at the college level; I have designed numerous math and physics courses that create space for students to actively explore the connections between the immediate experience of the world, empirical and theoretical methods of physics, and the philosophical principles on which they rest.