Fellow Reflection: Jack Deslippe
Field of Study: Computational Condensed Matter Theory
Practicum: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Hometown: Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Canadian-born with dual citizenship, Jack Deslippe spends much of his free time contributing to open-source software development. His work within the Linux / Ubuntu community includes coding, bug fixing and advocacy through local user groups. Jack, who won honorable mention in the 2009 DOE CSGF Essay Contest, is currently pursing a doctoral degree in computational condensed matter theory at the University of California, Berkeley. In his free time Jack enjoys ballroom dancing lessons, something he took an interest in during his practicum at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Explain why you have an interest in computational science.
"More and more of today's important scientific questions involve complexity that cannot be addressed through traditional, pen and paper, theoretical methods. This is particularly true in the field of nanoscience where any sort of quantitative description of the complex molecules under investigation involves the need to solve a large many-body problem. The combined development of advanced high-performance computers and ever more accurate theoretical methodology to utilizes the new resources is, to me, the most exciting avenue of science to participate in today. I believe this avenue of research will lead us to a more accurate and complete description of nature."
Why did the DOE CSGF program appeal to you?
"Having decided that I was going to pursue computationally oriented graduate research work, deciding to apply for the CSGF was a no-brainer. I knew about the great places past fellows have gone, was intrigued by the chance to spend time at a national laboratory and looked forward to the chance to mix with a group of computational scientists from different fields."
Explain the benefits you have received or positive experiences you have had in the DOE CSGF program.
"The CSGF program has provided me not only with the financial support I need, but also with the community, guidance and experience I didn't know I needed. The community of fellows, past-fellows and staff have helped me develop into a more well-rounded and knowledgeable computational scientist. Though I was initially skeptical of the utility of the program of study, I find myself using the skills I learned in my computational science and math courses in my research on a daily basis. Beyond the professional associations gained through the program, I have also met many very close friends through the CSGF community during the yearly conference, local meet-ups and through the practicum."
Describe your career goal(s) in the computational science field.
"I am the kind of person that doesn't like to pin himself down to particular problem or set of problems for the rest of my life. One of the great things about computational science is that, although the field is vast, the skills you gain applying computational science techniques to one problem can easily be applied to others. My immediate goals, however, are to continue doing research on developing computational and theoretical techniques to better predict and understand complex materials' properties. I plan to pursue this either through academia or through a national or industrial laboratory."