Growing up under the huge skies of southern Arizona, my interest in
astronomy developed through philosophy: I thought that the ultimate fate
of the Universe should matter to everyone and that thinking about it
should affect the way people live their lives. But first there is that
existential angst to overcome. While I was a Physics undergraduate at Princeton University, Woody Allen's
movie "Annie Hall" came out and I strongly identified with the young Alvy
Singer character, who refused to do his homework:
After much more homework, I received a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Virginia. I then did postdoctoral research for two years at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge and a year at the University of Alabama before joining the faculty at the University of Alabama. Most of my research involves theoretical and observational study of X-ray emission from hot gas in galaxies and clusters of galaxies. I use the chemistry and energy content of gas in galaxies and galaxy clusters to determine how galaxies formed.
I haven't done research in cosmology since my undergraduate years, but I still think that people who don't care about the fate of the Universe are really squirrels in disguise.