Most details here are targeted towards future me, but you are welcome to listen in.
Giving my respects to Thomas Bayes in Tunbridge Wells, England.
Bayesian by Nature
I infer therefore I am
Elementray School (1986-1991) ביה״ס ניל״י
Middle School (1991-1994) אורט בנימינה
High School (1994-1996) קציני ים עכו
I learned to not like sailing
Honesty is the best policy
Physics teacher Meir Boneh wrote this on the board (in English) at the beginning of each lecture.
כמה שלא תנער, תמיד ישאר
Professor Melamed Emanuel’s response to requests to leave for the restroom: No matter how much you dangle, some will remain (in Hebrew it rhymes).
Israeli Defence Forces בה״ד 7 (1996-1999)
Instructor in the Communication Corps. At least I wasn’t at sea …
Was in reserve training call until 2010. Retired as Sergeant first class רב-סמל
Claim for fame: I Volunteered for reserve training in 2002, but was released on site because I was described by the commanding officer as “a good person”.
Satellite Technician (2000)
Interim (Sep - Dec 2000)
- Worked briefly in a laundromat
- Waited tables
- Learned Spanish
Backpacking South America (Dec 2000 - Apr 2001)
Chile-Argentina-Brasil-Bolivia-Peru on a shoe string
Interim (Apr - Sep 2001)
- Worked in marketing for Dad’s ABC Boards project
- Telemarketing for Ma’ariv newspaper in the subscription department - worst job in my life
Physics B.Sc (2001-2004)
I learned how to learn
Claim for fame: I never took a test twice. אף פעם לא עשיתי מועד ב׳
Claim for fame II: For a time I tutored enough not to use an ATM for months.
Most of us get to physics by accident רובינו מגיעים לפיזיקה בטעות
Professor Aharon Davidson about my confession that I initially intended on studying engineering before I fell in love with physics.
- Tutored Mechanics and Electro Magnitism, Modern Physics
- Briefly ran a “Quantum Camp” (קייטנת קוונטים)
- In summer of 2002 I worked in construction
The question with which I fell in love with physics as presented in Mechanics recitation by Irit Maor:
A helicopter is hovering above a mark X on the equator. The pilot drops a rock. Neglecting wind and friction, where in respect to the X will the rock land: North-East-South-West or something in between?
I loved that we solved this just with words, and then learned the math tools to generate quantifiable predictions. By the time I got back to my dorm, I forgot the verbal explanation and had to build the logic up again from scratch. It was great!
I should have squashed you in Calculus ! אני הייתי צריך לאכול אותך בחדו״א
Professor Kagalovski response to my quesetion during the Advanced Mechanics final exam when he misunderstood my question regarding cosine angles.
ואז אתם עושים אנטגרל על תחת
This only makes sense in Hebrew … During a lectur on Solid State physics, Professor Dan Rich says in Hebrew with a strong American accent, to do an integral on our ass, actually meaning on one cell. פרופסור דן ריץ׳ בשיעור מצב מוצק מתכוון שנעשה אנטגרל על תא אחת
Interim (Jul 2004 - Feb 2005)
- Salvador Dali themed trip to Spain with Mom
- While visiting Grandma in New Jersey, I fell in love with New York City for the second time
- Applied to Universities in the USA.
- Travelled the USA and went to many NBA games and concerts.
Backpacking Central America (Feb - Jun 2005)
Panama-Costa Rica-Nicaragua-Honduras-Guatemala on a shoe string
Cosmology Research (2005-2014)
I measured a bump on a graph which excited a small number of specialists.
10 second elevator pitch: As an observational cosmologist, I analysed 3D maps of galaxy distributions to quantify the amount of dark matter in the Universe as well as measure its expansion rate.
Elevator pitch to the 100th floor: To this end I measured the large-scale structure of ensembles of distant galaxies. My focus was on a weak signal (1% effect!) which is considered the longest standard ruler known is cosmology at a length of half a billion light years!
Claim for fame: In my second publication I pissed off a tenured professor by debunking his claims. Claim for fame II: I met eight nobel prize winners in physics, six of which attended my lectures.
I still can’t believe that someone is paying me to study physics in New York City.
Me a few months in NYU confessing to a professor about my amazement of living and studying in NY thanks to a fellowship.
Favourite Professor Andrei Gruzinov quotes:
So, what should I go home and tell my wife?
Andre’s question for most speakers (including Nobel Prize winners) about the conclusion of their presentation.
I’ll sign your Ph.D approval paper thing, but I advise you learn more statistics.
His conclusion after my dissertation cross-fire examination. He was right, and I did!.
Transitioning To Data Science (2014)
I participated in a garbage-in garbage-out project for a non-startup.
Claim for fame: I was known as “that guy who wrote the blog post with the picture of a notebook”. Strategically advertised in LinkedIn and Facebook forums, the post had over 1,000 reads in the first day (which was a lot at the time!)
Go where the data are
Prof. Michael Blanton suggesting how to choose between postdoc offers. I took his offer and did a postdoc in Australia, and then following the same advise left for a career in Data Science.
SCL Group / Cambridge Analytica (2014-2018)
3.5 year highlight: A successful snail-mail A/B test project where I proved to myself that my Machine Learning model actually has some merit to it.
What most people want to know: Upon request I did not work on the 2016 presidential campain.
Claim for fame: Half of a joke that I made about the CEO at a company party made The NY Times.
Claim for fame II: I gave my one month notice before the massive press coverage.
The half joke that made The New York Times:
But for the intended auidence that was not the punch line. The punch line was (which needs context to appreciate):
How does he do it? He sells them Ripon!
The context: Ripon was a customized campaign software platform that Cambridge Analytic sold. I always thought it a peculiar name (considering it sounds so much like Rip Off) until I learned that is is named after the town of Ripon, Wisconsin, where the Republican Party was founded).
Vipassana at Dhamma Dipa (May 2016)
Ten days of meditation training during May 18-29.
I highly recommend!
I made nice AI-ish visuals to impress investors.
Claim for fame: I made a presentation with cool animations that was circulated to all large pharmaceuticals worldwide.
Highlight: Got to learn protein biology on the job and experience a growing startup
I worked on machine learning and optimisation solutions for protein design. This involved training machine learning algorithms to learn to link DNA sequence to protein functions. Once models were established, I optimised for exploring the DNA sequence space to identify more beneficial proteins (applying a technique called multi-objective optimisation).
I also dabbled with Design of Experiment with the objective of maximising DNA yield given concentrations of reagents.
LG webpage around the time I left.
Babylon Health (2020-)
I joined Babylon Health in mid April of 2020 as a data scientist.
My first project is working on the company’s Symptom Checker product. In detail, I work on prototyping creative solutions for its clinical triage feature.
Hard skills determine if you will win or lose, soft skills determine by how much
My line manager, Tom Mayo, on Data Scientists’ ingredients for success.
Make yourself a priority
Colleague’s advise on how to get things done.
Look! A tardigrade!