Triage has always been a medical term for me. It referred to prioritizing aid to wounded on the battlefield or the sick and injured in other medical emergencies. Today, my wife used the word triage to describe her mental mindset as she and the school she works for get ready to kick off the 2019 school year. Caroline has to set up a new class room, prepare a syllabus and coursework, complete CPR and earthquake safety training, attend new teacher orientation and professional development courses, and much more. This usage of triage made so much sense

In hindsight, I can think of no better word than triage to describe battling through the PhD process in experimental high energy physics at CERN. Graduate students regularly have requests for studies and analyses coming at them from multiple directions along with operations, maintenance, and development work for the detectors that must be juggled along with writing papers and pushing them through the review process. Inevitably tasks are left incomplete, some progress to an admirable 80% finished, and others are forgotten and never started. I’m sure my experience is similar to those in other fields and across all walks of life.

Triage is something I want in my academic life. Some people thrive on being continuously over-committed and rely on impending deadlines to prioritize work. This method worked for graduate school and I hope to not return to this style academically. I do not desire a triage of obligations, but instead a triage of ideas.

I want to have more interesting ideas to pursue than time to pursue them allowing me to prioritize and choose the best of the best for attention. If we were clairvoyant and could see how interesting and beneficial pursuing an idea would be before embarking down a path of study, every thing would be simpler. In contrast, most of us are left starting projects to test the waters. And later, with more insight, we sometimes find ourself weighing the costs and benefits of scraping a few weeks of work to abandon a less than amazing idea, or a good idea which is not fun to research. This is something I need to practice, stepping back, reflecting on a project, and choosing a next thoughtful step. I hope that being able to walk away from some projects will allow me to focus on triaging ideas versus triaging obligations.

Abandoning invested resources is never easy whether it is time, effort, emotions, money, or a combination. However, research should be fun, interesting, and useful. If any of those criteria are missing for you, it probably is not worth your time. There are thousands of questions that would be useful to humanity if answered, which I do not find interesting. Luckily, there are dozens of questions which are useful, interesting, and, as of now, look like they will be fun. This is why I am in energy research at the confluence of renewable and sustainable energies, computational modeling, and data analysis.


Creativity is a buzz word we hear all the time. Like most people, I too want to be more creative in my work and daily life. This is one of the motivating factors in building my first website. I want an outlet which extends beyond devising solutions to numerical and programming problems in my research. My current advisor, Ken Caldeira, often says he is really good at thinking up many different ideas. He acknowledges that most of them are not gold. But, by having many ideas, he creates more of those rare gems which lead to fascinating research and exciting exploration.

By exercising my creativity outside of the specific research I pursue, I hope to quite simply stimulate my flow of ideas and willingness to share them throughout my life. There must be thousands of “creativity” self-help books available. Maybe I should read the intro of one or two of them. For now, I will stick with doing instead of reading. I have always learned and enjoyed myself more by doing rather than reading about doing.

Getting Started

Hello everyone! This is my first blog post ever. I am starting this site to document some of the interesting places I visit, ideas I come across, and, hopefully, some original reflections. I have always tended towards sharing less on the internet and in conversations in real life. I hope that I can use this place to document and share ideas more openly than I have in the past and without worrying about twitter followers or likes.

I am not sure what all I plan to discuss here. I imagine it will involve a bit of my renewable energy and energy systems research, some cycling and hiking thoughts, and random programming information I run across.

Let the experiment begin!