Rob Knop is an astrophysicist, a violinist and violist, an amateur actor and director, a computer programmer, a gamer, a science fiction reader, a unicycle rider, and a general all-around nerd. He studied physics as an undergraduate at Harvey Mudd College in the late 1980’s, and spent the first 6 years of the 1990’s in graduate school at Caltech, where he worked in infrared astronomy. He graduated from Caltech in 1997, but started his post-doc with the Supernova Cosmology Project at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1996. There, he was intimately involved in the 1998 discovery that the expansion of our Universe is accelerating; this discovery would go on to earn Saul Perlmutter the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics.
In 2001, he became an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University, and while many things went well, he struggled to get NSF funding. That resulted in his leaving Vanderbilt (as was painfully documented in a previous incarnation of this blog), and two years as a computer engineer working for Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life. After getting fired for making a stand on principle (a principle that would, granted, leave a lot of people scratching their head, but that would be understood by a certain class of geek), he did contract work and adjunct teaching for a year. In fall 2010, he started on the faculty of Quest University Canada, where he taught physics and related subjects for four years. In the fall of 2014, he will be starting in the physics department at Westminster College, a small liberal arts college in New Wilmington, PA (a small town about an hour north of Pittsburgh). You can find more information about the classes he’s teaching and has taught at his web page about that sort of thing.
Rob has a Personal Home Page out there on the World Wide Web, and has since the early 1990’s. (OOOoooo!) He has given public outreach talks about phsyics and astronomy in many venues, including the virutal world Second Life. He’s also an amateur violinist, as well as an amateur actor and director of community theater. Hobbies include hacking on computers, reading science fiction, and roleplaying games.
The background image used in the logo is a HST image of “The Mice”, a famous interacting galaxy pair. The credit for the image is: NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (UCSC/LO), M. Clampin (STScI), G. Hartig (STScI), the ACS Science Team and ESA.