On the Cover: Sven Geier

March 31, 2007

Polly Mottonen
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While laying out this month's CATALYST I was wandering through the worldwide web looking for information on moths for "Almanac." In the process, I came across the amazing fractal world of Sven Geier. (See facing page for Sven's "Moth.") Sven's resumé reads like a young wizkid's wishlist. He tells me he likes to do fun stuff and so he does it-like working for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "If there is something you want to do …apply!" he says (encouraging me to not dismiss my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut). Sven generates fractals with UltraFractal 2.05 which are presented here directly as they come out of the fractal engine. He's not afraid of theory; he likes teaching and munches computer code for breakfast. But his heart is with instrumentation. High-energy instrumentation, that is. It has been said that experimental physics is the complicated way to learn engineering, but no engineer gets to learn as much by playing, and in particular by playing with such a diversity of environments: semiconductors, scintillators, vacuum- and cryo-systems, circuitry, nuts' n' bolts, tubes, data processing systems, high voltages, machining, low signals, ultra-fast timing, exotic materials…. And in the end, we learn about the universe, the biggest thing there is, by looking at the smallest things that can be looked at. Measuring single particles and single photons.
www.its.caltech.edu/~sgeier
-Polly Plummer Mottonen CATALYST art director 
svenWhile laying out this month's CATALYST I was wandering through the worldwide web looking for information on moths for "Almanac." In the process, I came across the amazing fractal world of Sven Geier. (See facing page for Sven's "Moth.") Sven's resumé reads like a young wizkid's wishlist. He tells me he likes to do fun stuff and so he does it-like working for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "If there is something you want to do …apply!" he says (encouraging me to not dismiss my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut). Sven generates fractals with UltraFractal 2.05 which are presented here directly as they come out of the fractal engine. He's not afraid of theory; he likes teaching and munches computer code for breakfast. But his heart is with instrumentation. High-energy instrumentation, that is. It has been said that experimental physics is the complicated way to learn engineering, but no engineer gets to learn as much by playing, and in particular by playing with such a diversity of environments: semiconductors, scintillators, vacuum- and cryo-systems, circuitry, nuts' n' bolts, tubes, data processing systems, high voltages, machining, low signals, ultra-fast timing, exotic materials…. And in the end, we learn about the universe, the biggest thing there is, by looking at the smallest things that can be looked at. Measuring single particles and single photons.
www.its.caltech.edu/~sgeier
-Polly Plummer Mottonen CATALYST art director