The short version:
Bikes. Boxing. Bioethics.
The longer version:
I was awarded my PhD in Philosophy in 2013. My area of research is the dual-use dilemma, which arises in the context of scientific research that has both benevolent and harmful applications. My dissertation compared cases of dual-use research arising in the contemporary life sciences against cases in nuclear physics that arose in the early-to-mid twentieth century.
The PhD took a long time, and made me pretty unhappy along the way. That all changed, and I’m glad it did.
On a broader level, I conduct research concerned with the ways we choose, fund, pursue, publish, and then use scientific research and the products derived from research. I began academic life in physics, and was fascinated by questions of why I was doing what I was doing. So much so that I fell in with a bad crowd and have been conducting research in applied ethics ever since. In addition to dual-use, I’m interested in military and policing ethics, professional ethics, and freedom of speech. But that’s a list that never stops growing—I enjoy talking and writing about anything, and with anyone.
In late 2012, Kelly introduced me to the editorial staff at the Scientific American blog to write a bit on dual-use. I really enjoyed it; that’s why I’m here, writing this.
When I’m not talking about ethics, I can most often be found doing one of two things. The first is riding mountain bikes as fast as physics and my sense of self-preservation will let me. I participate in the occasional race, but ride mainly for fun. At the time of this writing, I’m recovering from a torn rotator cuff following a pretty spectacular crash. But I’ll be back endangering myself before long.
Second, I can be found boxing or practicing martial arts. I’ve practiced for approximately ten years, and I in another ten I’ll feel moderately incompetent at what I do. I’m happy to talk and practice with just about anyone who enjoys practice that has risk but who wants to live through their training to live a good life. I’ve hung out with a lot of Buddhists, and I’m of the opinion that martial arts is best practiced in a way where you can still be practicing your art in your eighties, rather than busting yourself in your twenties. I’ve managed that with some success so far.