Biosketch

Dimitrios Psaltis was born in Serres, a town in northern Greece, on Monday June 1, 1970, a day he used to believe was the first day of the week, the first day of the month, and the first day of summer. It took four years in Kindergarten (procrastination was obvious even back then), six years in elementary school, three years in junior-high, and three years in high school for him to realize that neither is Monday the first day of the week nor is June 1st the first day of summer. In the meantime, he spent most of the years in junior-high and in high school working as a part-time programmer in a computer company.

scc_84During the last year of high school he realized that he did not want to spend one more minute of his life debugging computer codes or studying Ancient Greek and decided to study Physics at the University of Thessaloniki. Within two months after graduating from high school he was hired by a computer company to develop software for the teaching of Ancient Greek in private and public schools! In the fall of 1988 he started attending classes at the Physics Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and soon afterwards he started looking for a research project. He never considered working on nuclear or particle physics being afraid that his work might be used for the development of nuclear weapons. A boring one-semester project in solid-state physics was enough to drive him as far away as possible from this field too. Research in Astronomy was the only obvious way forward (fortunately for his solid-state physics professors but unfortunatelly for his astronomy ones) and he spent the last 3 years in college working on various problems in astronomy at the Observatory of the University of Thessaloniki, as well as at the Astronomical Institute of the University of Amsterdam (funded by the Erasmus program for exchange students) and at the Max-Planck Institute fuer Radioastronomie in Bonn.

frontHe graduated in July 1992 and started his graduate studies in the Astronomy Department of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After spending a year trying to solve unsolvable homework problems, he started working on his doctoral thesis mostly spenting his time debugging his radiative transport code and working on a project that could (but he really hopes it won’t) be used for developing nuclear weapons. An administrative error forced him to turn down a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship of the European Union to be taken at the University of Amsterdam (his most favorite place in the world until then), and stay in the U.S.

In 1997 he moved to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, as a Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellow. He loved the east coast so much that, even though he had already accepted a faculty position at the University of Arizona, he decided to stay for an extra year in Cambridge, MA, as a postdoctoral researcher at MIT, and for two years as a long-term member at the Institute of Advanced Study, in Princeton, NJ.

kiliIn January 2003, he started his faculty position at the University of Arizona. He now spends most of his time teaching graduate and undergraduate students, doing research, giving public talks, traveling to international collaborative meetings and conferences, enjoying life with his family, hiking, cycling, diving, and flying.