After graduating from Rose-Hulman, I attended the Ohio State University for graduate school.
I obtained my PhD in Physics in 2003. As part of the theoretical nuclear physics group, I did research
in quantum mechanical three-body systems. A large part of this research involved numerically computing
solutions to integral equations. As I learned the necessary computer/programming skills to perform the
calculations, I discovered that I enjoyed my work with computers more than the theoretical physics I was doing.
After obtaining my PhD, I began working at the Ohio Supercomputer Center
(OSC) as a systems developer. As part of the High Performance Computing support staff, my job involves everything from
Linux OS support to network management to C/perl/python programming. A large portion of my work centers around Linux clusters.
I help architect new systems, and I have written a configuration language and a set of tools OSC uses to manage their
1400+ cluster machines.
My mathematics background was obviously useful for my physics research.
More important than this though were the problem solving skills I acquired from studying mathematics.
The ability to analyze a problem, break it down into components, and then systematically test/solve those
components is a general skill that can be applied to all areas of my work. That skill alone makes a huge
difference in how effective I am at my job (and it's a skill that is in surprisingly short supply).
People with backgrounds in mathematics and physical sciences seem to be more inclined to possess such skills.
That probably explains why the support staff includes three physicists, a chemical engineer, two mechanical
engineers, and an aeronautical engineer.