Brian Hill, Department of Physics & Astronomy.
Each sentence in the biography below describes — or more accurately alludes to — a significant step that brought me to where I am, and each step would have been impossible without the help of others.
So many people have put their best into the world, and we all benefit from their inspired work. Steve Jobs captured very well the way we can give to and appreciate one another. It is better to listen to Steve's homage to humanity than to read my bio even if you had some interest in me specifically:
Steve's words opening — posthumously — the Steve Jobs Theater, Cupertino, California, September 12, 2017


I entered the University of Washington in Seattle intending to be a AA or a EE, but the first year of physics taught by the late CalTech-trained relativist Philip Peters was so crystalline and beautiful that I switched to physics before it was time to register for the sophomore year. After graduating summa cum laude in 1982, I went to Harvard for grad school in particle theory, worked under the late field theorist Sidney Coleman, and got my PhD in 1988. During my nearly six years at Harvard and three more each at postdocs at Fermilab and UCLA, I authored and co-authored 18 papers which collectively have well over 1,000 citations.

I decided to jump clear of particle theory as it became steadily more fashionable to write papers on utterly untestable topics. Being proficient in software thanks to my work in lattice gauge theory with Estia Eichten and his collaborators, I was able to land an entry-level job at Steve Jobs' quixotic startup, NeXT Computer.

In 1997 Apple aquired NeXT, and I spent the next couple of years on the AppKit team under the patient tutelage of Chris Kane and Ali Ozer helping turn NeXTstep into the operating system that is currently branded as macOS. I took a break after we shipped the first release to developers, and then instead of returning to Cupertino to develop the next release, I threw myself into San Francisco's rough-and-tumble web startup scene.

I had the privilege of working with many talented and dedicated engineers and entrepreneurs, but as much as I enjoyed the creativity, the hectic pace and the teamwork of startup work, a couple of years ago, I realized that my first love remained teaching and learning physics. My last full-time position in software was at Getaround, today the leader in peer-to-peer car sharing, where I wrote the server API that powers the company's mobile app.

In February 2015, I was fortunate to be able to return to academia at Saint Mary's College of California as an Adjunct Professor. Since August 2016, when the late astronomer Ronald Olowin — of Abell-Corwin-Olowin fame — encouraged me to take his keys — literally — and learn my way around the Geissberger Observatory, I have been avidly developing the College's astronomy program.

In July 2017, I was promoted to Assistant Professor. Currently, in Fall 2017, I am teaching both sections of Introductory Physics, relying heavily on flipped classroom techniques captured in the textbook and associated materials by Randall Knight, with the hope that more of our STEM majors will at least survive the introductory physics sequence and even better, develop the passion for science they need to become truly successful. In Spring 2017, I will be teaching both Introductory Astronomy and the Department's junior-level course in Astrophysics.

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