My CV

My interests lie at the intersection of impossible meets the greatest technology of the current century, namely foundation models for Science. I also foster a deep interest in understanding the formation and evolution history of our Galaxy, the Milky Way. On a practical basis, I employ deep learning methods to Astro problems, may they be transformers, normalising flows, Bayesian neural nets.

Education

  • Ph.D., Astrophysics (Sep 2016 -- Nov 2020)

    • Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, United Kingdom
    • Title: Inference in the Milky Way in the Gaia era
  • MPhys., Physics and Astronomy (2012--2016)

    • University of Durham, United Kingdom
    • Title: Searching for ultra faint dwarf galaxies in the Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey
  • Romanian Baccalaureate (2010--2012)

    • Tudor Vianu National High School, Romania

Experience

Research Scientist

Stanford University, United States
Will start on the 1st of October 2024

Going to build resilient cross-disciplinary bridges between KIPAC, SLAC, SDS and HAI together with wonderfully impressive humans.

Founder

UniverseTBD
April 2023 - Present
I serve as the current Weaver/Leader-in-Service (2023-2024) of an ambitious AI Research Lab of more than 30 people working to leverage foundation models for Science (https://universetbd.org). Together with the wonderful Sandor Kruk and Kartheik Iyer, we administer our Funky Spaceship where our superstar co-creators get to redefine the boundaries of science.

Jubilee Joint Fellow

Australian National University, Australia
May 2022 - Present
I am working as part of the School of Computing and the Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University in Canberra.

ASTRO-3D Research Fellow

Australian National University, Australia
Jan 2022 - May 2022
The first eight months of my ASTRO-3D appointment were spent working remotely in the United Kingdom as a Senior Research Fellow at University College London.

Senior Research Fellow

University College London, United Kingdom
May 2021 - Dec 2022
Intermediate appointment while waiting for my visa to be granted and take up my ASTRO-3D Fellowship at the Australian National University.

Machine Learning Consultant

Hephaestus Analytical, UK
March 2021 - April 2021
Built a machine learning framework based on the scattering transform and normalising flows that was employed to detect forgery in the art world.

Teaching Assistant

University College London, UK
Nov 2020 - March 2021
Teaching Programming in Python and Time Series to second and fourth year students, respectively.

Data Science for Social Good Fellow

The Alan Turing Institute, UK
Summer 2020
Selected as one of eight fellows from more than 700 applicants. We worked on building a data-driven solution that helps Ofsted optimise their inspection scheduling for early years childcare providers and minimise the time a child would spend in inadequate care.

EF London 14 Founder-In-Residence

Entrepreneur First, UK
Spring 2020
During the Form part of the programme, I worked on building a mentorship platform directly aimed at children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

LSSTC Data Science Fellow

Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Corporation, USA
2017-2019
The LSSTC Data Science Fellowship programme (DSFP) is a two-year training programme consisting of six workshops designed to teach essential data science skills for big data applications.

Research Fellow

Australian Astronomical Observatory, Australia
Summer 2015
Worked with Dr. Sarah Brough to understand the relationship between a galaxy’s environment and its properties.

European Space Agency Trainee

European Space Astronomy Centre, Spain
Summer 2014
Worked with Dr. Anthony Marston and Dr. Andy Pollock on finding ejecta nebulae around Wolf-Rayet stars.

REXUS Rocket Programme LOW-Gravity Project Scientist

European Space Agency, The Netherlands
2012-2014
I was the project scientist of the LOW-Gravity Team that participated in the REXUS/BEXUS Programme, which was organised by the European Space Agency (ESA).

Teaching and Service

Course Convenor

Australian National University
July 2023 - Dec 2023
Together with Dr. Thang Bui, I co-convene the Introduction to Machine Learning (COMP 3670/6670) course at the ANU (approx. 400 students).

Academic Advisor (2022--Present)

Australian National University
2022--present

  • Details: Primary supervisor for Honours student Anthony Siharath, panel member for RSAA PhD student Ella Wang and SoCO PhD student Muhammad Salman. Co-supervisor of present RSAA Masters student Gillian Altham, former co-supervisor of RSAA Masters student Ruizhou Hua.

Other service

  • Organiser (2021)

    • Institution: Mullard Space Science Laboratory - University of Surrey
    • Details: Organiser of the monthly MSSL-University of Surrey Milky Way-Local Group Meeting.
  • Supervisor (2021)

    • Institution: Kyoto Sangyo University
    • Details: Primary supervisor of Ms. Kurumi Okuda visiting from Kyoto Sangyo University.
  • Fellow (2022)

    • Institution: Royal Astronomical Society

Research Highlights

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Academic presentations

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Grants, Honours & Awards

  • Microsoft Accelerate Foundation Models Academic Research Grant (Co-Principal Investigator, 2023): USD 10,000
  • Australian National Computational Infrastructure (Chief Investigator, 2023): 22M CPU Hours
  • Australian National Computational Infrastructure (Chief Investigator, 2022): 23M CPU Hours
  • Jubilee Joint Fellowship (2022--2025): ~ A$470,000
  • ASTRO-3D Research Fellowship (2021): ~ A$120,000
  • LSSTC DSFP Grant (2017--2020): 6 trips, $12,000
  • UCL-UofT Grant (2018--2019): 2 trips, £5,000
  • MSSL Travel Award (2018): Mullard Space Science Laboratory, £600
  • IAU Travel Award (2018): International Astronomical Union, £300
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council PhD Studentship (2017--2020): £21,000/yr for 3.5 yrs
  • Royal Astronomical Society Grant (2017): £500
  • Royal Astronomical Society Tomkins Grant for Instrumentation (2016): £2,000
  • Hans von Muldau Team Award for Best Team Project (2015): International Astronautical Federation
  • Merit-Based Scholarship for Mathematical Olympiad (2014): International Computer High School of Romania

Programming skills

  • Programming: Python, R, Probabilistic Programming (pymc3, edward, tensorflow-probability), SQL, Machine Learning (tensorflow, keras, pytorch, weights&biases), time series (pandas, sktime, prophet)
  • Data Hacking: dataflow automation (prefect), Jupyter Notebooks, data visualisation (seaborn, plotly, Tableau)
  • Misc: MPI, Git, LaTeX, Linux

Languages

  • Romanian: Native
  • English: Proficient
  • French: Intermediate