About Me

In the dome with the 12" 'scope
I'm the Curator of the historic Ladd Observatory. The Observatory opened in 1891 and is part of the Department of Physics at the Brown University. Today it is preserved as a working museum where visitors can experience astronomy as it was practiced a century ago. I spend most of time doing science outreach and public education. I'm also responsible for the historic scientific instrument collection. My research is primarily on late 19th and early 20th century astronomy with a focus on precision timekeeping using mechanical clocks and transit telescopes. There is a weather station on the roof that includes a lightning detector and an all sky camera. I setup the system for making the data from these sensors available on the web.

Repairing a pdp-12
Repairing an A/D channel on the pdp-12.
Photo by Dave Fischer.

My first home computer was a pdp-11/44 until I upgraded to a VAX-11/750. I still work with vintage computers long after most people have stopped using them. I'm a founding member of the Retro-Computing Society of RI. We collect, restore, and preserve computers from as early as the 1960s. Our collection primarily focuses on minicomputers including a number of rare laboratory instruments computers. In the past I have worked on Symbolics Lisp Machines, an EAI PACE analog computer, and a DEC Lab-K. Currently I'm working on a VAX VMScluster and a Cray J916 vector supercomputer.

This blog may contain posts about work that I have done at Brown University, but I am solely responsible for the content here.

Except for quotes or images that I explicitly credit to others the material on this site is CC BY-SA 4.0

Cosmological formation of a cluster of galaxies in an expanding universe.
The image above is a snapshot of a data cube that was generated using the simulation code GADGET-2 running on a small number of nodes of the HPC cluster at the Center for Computation & Visualization and rendered using IFrIT.

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