about me


I'm a computational scientist in the Scientific Computing Group at the National Center for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. I am a matrixed member of the Theoretical Astrophysics group at ORNL and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Tennessee. Before that, I was a research associate at the ASC/Alliances Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago.

I'm interested primarily in supernovae, both thermonuclear and core-collapse, and in high performance computing in general. I received my undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Tennessee. As I was studying physics at UT, I spent lots of time in the Physics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory before going to Chicago. After finishing my PhD, I was a postdoc at ORNL with the Terascale Supernova Initiative for a couple of years.

All these sorts of details, and more, can be found by perusing my CV and by taking a look at my research page.

I am, quite thoroughly, what is often disparagingly referred to as a hillbilly. I was born and raised in Bryson City, NC, as were my parents, and some subset of their parents, etc. for a quite a while back. Bryson City is nestled pretty much smack dab in the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains. It is the very apotheosis of Southern Appalachia.

I'm a big a fan of Baldesar Castiglione and a whole-hearted believer in the sound advice of Hugh of St. Victor: Omnia disce, videbus postea nihil esse superfluum. Nevertheless, the list of things beyond astrophysics I have time to seriously turn my hand to is quite countable.

I've spent a preposterous number of hours since I was about 16 playing college bowl (the cognoscenti will notice my obvious and obstinate use of lower-case, as well as the actual link). I played on the UT national championship team as a senior.

This particular pursuit probably helped to put me in pretty good stead when I got a chance to be on Jeopardy!

Much of the rest of my time since adolescence has been spent participating in team sports of various kinds. The one that seems to have stuck (mostly because there tends to be a bunch of old guys like me who want to play and I seem to enjoy it most) is lacrosse, something I didn't even pick up until I was in grad school. I've gone from being scarily inept to just plain not very good in just a few years!   In any event, you can check out the current success of the UT team here.

Feeding my lax habit, I'm also the head coach of the Knoxville Catholic High School Lacrosse Team

If you're not completely exhausted from all this narcissism, the other page has a pretty good list of the top tens of things I think are cool.

I have an Erdös number no greater than 3.    Erdös --> Barak --> Saylor --> Messer