It has been a long time since I posted and I figured that I should put something up; just as a little update.
As we are about to enter another school year, I, like many of you fellow Grad students, have just had to sit through hours of meetings concerning TA duties about which we are already familiar. Such is life! This year, I will be only teaching Astronomy labs. Our department isn't very big so being able to teach only one type of class is surprising. However, I will also be TAing the only Astronomy II Lab and for which I have been helping to develop curriculum.
A downside to a small department is the interval between when classes are offered, so here I am: a third year grad student taking QFT 1 and 2. I already took QFT 3 last year, but hey, I am just really taking them for fun! I just hope to glean some more cool physics knowledge along the journey. :)
As for research, I am still holding tightly to my GR roots by continuing some research where my Maple-based Tensor Calculating skills are useful and that is in the field of Horava-Lifshitz gravity. This is a fairly sensational area of research where the scaling between space and time is dynamic and energy scale dependent. Hence, it is a potential theory of quantum gravity. In our group we are looking at gravitational collapse and solar system tests all the while trying to constrain the theory.
The HL theory is my actually secondary area of research. My primary field requires a lot more brain-hurting: string phenomology. In general, my string theory group works on generating gauge models in free fermionic heterotic string theory. My particular focus is on superpotential flat direction analysis and the resulting phenomenology. It's all very interesting, if I could just understand any of it! I am much more interested on the phenomenology side of string pheno but that makes me a loner in my group. As of now, I am still working on converting some old Fortran code to C++ and then automating that code for use in calculating the important phenomological quantities (like mass hierarchies, VEVs etc...) for a given model. Of course we want the program to port well with the model generating program that our group has been working on over the past few years but I also will be making it as a stand-alone program. Over the next few years, I hope to continue to expand upon the program to do more exhaustive studies of the free fermionic portion of the landscape by increasing the number of phenomological parameters that can be searched/calculated.
And just like every other physics grad student, I hope to find something cool, new and maybe even somewhat useful!
Apart from physics, I am still leading a Karate group here on campus and will be traveling around a bit to be able to learn more about physics as it pertains to the body!