Menu

A Very Brief Autobiography

I was born and grew up in the city of Sarnia, Ontario. After captaining my highschool chess squad to a county championship, I decided that engineering school was right for me. I moved to Kingston, Ontario, where I did a degree in Engineering Physics at Queen's University. Partway through that degree, I decided to go further afield and went on exchange to Germany where I studied at the University of Stuttgart. In Stuttgart I learned German and met many wonderful people, expanding my world significantly. On my way to Stuttgart I also took a job in my ancestral land, Lithuania. For three months I helped sell optics and got a sense of what all had been going on all those years behind the iron curtain.

After finishing up at Queen's, I did a master's degree at the University of Toronto, in the Department of Physics. Working in Aephraim Steinberg's lab, I built up an experiment to measure quantum mechanical light. With a great cast of characters, and ample opportunity to tinker, create, and ponder the mysteries of the universe, I had a great year. I was conquered again though, by my wanderlust, and next headed off to Korea to teach kindergarten for a year. After seeing as much as I could (though not nearly enough) of the far east, and wrestling probably hundreds of Korean children, I made my way (by train, mostly) back to Toronto where I began my PhD.

For my PhD I graduated from particles of light to particles of matter, and I now study atoms in quantum states. To get the atoms into these quantum mechanical states, we (it's all so complicated we need a team that varies in size from 2-5 people) use lasers and magnetic traps, all in an ultra-high vacuum, to bring the atoms to a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero. It's the coldest stuff in the universe. Once we've made the stuff, we smash it into things and see what it all can tell us about quantum mechanics.

During my time at U of T, I tried to keep busy by taking advantage of the broad range of things available in Toronto - for example, I took lessons in swimming, diving, trampoline, Korean, Russian, Urdu, carpentry. If Urdu seems more random than the rest, it may have something to do with the fact that I was married in Karachi in the summer of 2010. I also keep in shape by playing hockey (ice and road), basketball, and doing a bit of cycling.

In the fall of 2010, my spouse and I moved to California where she started a postdoc at UC Berkeley / LBL. I spent some time finishing up my thesis, and then decided to aim myself at medical imaging. I joind the Magnetic Resonance Research Laboratory (MRSRL) at Stanford, where I work on MRI technology.