I am Daniel Sank, guest for the Physics Stack Exchange AMA taking place in the hbar chat room on August 12 at 16:00 UTC [a]. I am looking forward to discussing my experience in the USA physics education system from lower education schools up through the PhD program, my research in experimental quantum computing, the difficulties and importance of physics pedagogy, and anything else you'd like to talk about.
Post questions you'd like answered below
The AMA will be informal, but to get an idea of what others would like to talk about, please post questions you'd like answered as responses to this meta post. See, for example, the questions posted for Slereah's AMA.
Education and work history
I was born and raised in the United States. I went to mostly public schools, with a three year detour into private school for grades 3, 4, and 5. I did my bachelor's degree in physics at Yale University and my PhD at University of California Santa Barbara in the lab of John Martinis where I worked on precision measurement of magnetic noise and on quantum state measurement, both in superconducting qubits.
I now continue work in superconducting qubits at the Google Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab. In this position I continue to work on state measurement, as well as several other aspects of building a quantum computer.
- As an experimentalist, I have found it important to understand noise in signal processing contexts
- For obvious reasons, I'm also interested in the noise which limits superconducting qubit performance.
- I have found that a true understanding of noise is absolutely essential to my work, and was mostly omitted from my education! It all started when I took the statistical mechanics course as an undergraduate, and I like to answer noise related statistical mechanics questions on the main site.
- I particularly enjoy random process problems. See this Stack Exchange post for an awesome example (note the amazing variety of answers!).
Dissemination of good coding practices and shared code within the scientific community. I am a contributing member of the LabRAD project, an RPC system in use in use by at least fourteen labs throughout the world.
- I'm happy to talk about any of my projects on github or anything else you'd like to discuss.
- I enjoy understanding supposedly complicated topics in simple yet rigorously correct ways. Here's and example from the Physics.SE main site.
- I once gave a two-part lecture on the Fourier transform for my undergraduate journal club. The positive responses from that form one of the best memories of my entire life and is one of the events that convinced me that time spent preparing very good pedagogical material is worthwhile. Those lectures are written up here, but in need of much work (collaborators welcome).
- Mostly I want to help improve our standards for scientific pedagogy and would enjoy questions/discussion on that topic.
Music. I play the classical guitar.
Plants and animals. At present I have many succulents, a few orchids, and a beautiful tri-color spiderwort. I am very interested in octopuses, because they are awesome.
Cooking. I have invented the best vegetarian chili known to man-kind. I also enjoy talking about pizza crust and the brewing of honey wine.
Backpacking. So far I've done two trips in Yosemite, one in the Cascades, one in Sequoia, one in the Sierra mountains, and one in the Catskills.
[a] For USA users that's 9:00 Pacific, 10:00 Mountain, 11:00 Central, and 12:00 Eastern.