About Me


(note: my Google Scholar can be hard to find; it’s here)

I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University. Before that, I did my Ph.D at Brown University, where I was the Simon Ostrach Fellow at the School of Engineering. My advisor was the inestimable Thomas R. Powers. There, my work was in theoretical soft condensed matter physics and applied math, particularly in examining the interface of liquid crystals, viscous hydrodynamics, and elastica; differential geometry, dynamical systems, and algebraic topology. At first glance this is completely different from what I work on now, but in fact the deep undercurrents of statistical physics / collective behavior often help connect most everything I think about.

Now I am working on problems in the dynamics of disease, evolution, and cultural transmission. Most currently on the evolution side I am interested in the role of fluid dynamics in allowing for the diversification of species, including the emergence of what is likely the very first living “species”, the RNA hypercycle. For infectious disease, which is intimately tied up with evolution, I have several interests, including the current drug resistance epidemic and breakdowns in cell-signaling in hematological diseases.

I have recently struck up a collaboration with the Quantitative Criticism Lab, examining Old English poetry using computational techniques. Old English was an undergraduate passion of mine so I am delighted to be revisiting it in this context. I am hoping to leverage the data and analytical methods we have gleaned from these projects into a much broader study of cultural evolution. I have an abiding fascination with language, and so researching the mathematics of language and literature help me unite these two (previously) disparate interests.

In addition to studying the math of writing, I am often compelled to write about math (among other things). I am about as bad of a writer as I am a mathematician/physicist. But, they give me comparable joy and sense of purpose.

My Erdős and Einstein number are both 4. V. I. Arnol’d is my math hero. Sir Richard Francis Burton is my travel hero. Julio Cortázar is my fiction hero.

For more information, please see my CV.


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