I am an engineer by training, (currently) an olfactory neuroscience researcher by trade, and a tinkerer by nature. I am not one thing, nor do I strive to be.
I've always spent most of my time thinking, designing, building, and rebuilding. Indeed, the acquisition of knowledge and skill is one of my greatest passions, and the drive to create, one of my greatest urges.
Occasionally, my tinkering is driven by the need for an immediate solution to a specific problem. More often, however, I embark on a project for the challenge of practicing a new mode of thought, gaining insight into a realm of knowledge
that I have not yet explored, building a new tool, or learning a new skill that I might use to complete it. Though not always the simplest, easiest, or most efficient means of completing a project, this paradigm has allowed me
to consistently incorporate new skills, reinforced through practice, into my repertoire. As my creative itch transcends any specific area of focus, this has enabled me to gain proficiency in many domains. If I am an expert of anything,
I'm an expert generalist.
Some wish to tiptoe along the line of what is possible, occasionally pushing that line a little further into the unknown; I have no interest in flirting with this line. Instead, I want to backflip over it and draw a new one where I
see fit. I want to throw old assumptions out the window and take moonshot-sized leaps forward. I want to be an innovator rather than an implementer, even when the path forward is unclear, and I want to do so across the
confines of traditionally defined (and disjointed) fields. Under these circumstances, I believe, true innovation is most readily brought about.
I am a "wonder junkie," as Carl Sagan once put it. I live every moment of my life in awe of this universe, and am enamored with the fact that I can gain an ever-widening sliver of comprehension about it by asking questions, challenging
assumptions, and by pressing its buttons. And as much as I love to learn, I also love to teach. As an exercise, when working on personal projects without an immediate deadline, I often like approach them blindly (without having
done any research), or with other specific restrictions (e.g. only hand tools). In doing so, I create an environment in which I must continuously rediscover techniques and lessons that others already have, or if I'm lucky, discover
a new ways of approaching the same problem. These 'epiphany moments,' for me, are the most enjoyable part of a project, and often the most instructive. Helping others to feel this same joy, to create their own "aha!" moments, is
why I love to teach.
As I believe that failure can be powerfully instructive, I do not intend to hide failures when documenting projects here. If I mess up, I'll admit it, and hope that others may learn from my mistakes as I have. I enjoy questioning assumptions,
conventions, and long-held beliefs. I question the obstacles that I face in approaching any problem, for while they may indeed be real and insurmountable, they may also be illusory, built from the assumptions and simplifications
of the past. Moreover, when questioning the ideas of others, I do so openly, honestly, logically, and with respect, and welcome the same treatment of my ideas from those I interact with. Feel free to leave comments, concerns, and
questions if you have them, but please do so with respect.