I have always loved science. I began in physics, receiving my B.A. in physics from UC Berkeley, and my Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. My thesis, under the supervision of Leo Kadanoff , was on a problem in pattern formation, in the general field of nonlinear dynamics. The elaborate tour around the complex plane which formed the foundation of my thesis landed me a fantastic postdoc at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara, working with Jim Langer. There I became smitten by a problem which would change my life: earthquakes. Here was a problem which involved cutting edge theoretical work, had a wide array of observational data begging to be understood, and had immense practical importance to society. I came to Lamont at Columbia University to further pursue these interests in an Earth Science setting.