David Zaslavsky

Welcome to my website! I am a physicist, science communicator, and programmer with a background in particle physics, numerical programming, web technologies, and design.

I have a degree in physics from Princeton University and a PhD from Penn State University. During grad school I specialized in high-energy computational particle phenomenology (what a mouthful!), which means I wrote computer programs to model the behavior of fundamental particles in high-energy collisions, like those at the LHC. I've written blog posts about my research.

I started learning computer programming around 1999, beginning with Java. Over the years my programming language of choice has shifted from Java to PHP (those were dark days), then to C, then Python. Along the way I've picked up substantial experience with over a dozen other languages. I try to be a "tech polyglot", switching freely between different languages and libraries depending on what's right for the job. (Python is always right for the job.)

I'm very interested in improving communication within the scientific community and between scientists and the public. My main communication efforts are through this very blog, explaining my research and other scientific concepts to nonspecialists.

Featured Posts


New site!

I’m back! After lots of work improving the theme and the implementation of my website, I’m getting back to regular blogging!

Most of the site looks pretty similar to how it did before, but there are some significant changes under the hood.

  • I’ve converted almost the entire …

About saturation

Time to kick off a new year of blog posts! For my first post of 2015, I’m continuing a series I’ve had on hold since nearly the same time last year, about the research I work on for my job. This is based on a paper my group …


Lessons from my first half-week

Things that don’t exist in China:

  • Ubiquitous wireless internet. Not so surprising, really, because Americans do have a rather unhealthy obsession with their wireless, but one would think I’d get wifi in the hotel room. Surprise, nope! Naturally this makes it rather less convenient to put up blog …

Do Teslas really catch on fire less than gas cars?

About a month ago, this happened: a Tesla Model S (electric car) ran over a large piece of metal which punctured its battery compartment, and the car caught on fire. It was a big deal because, according to CEO Elon Musk’s blog post (first link above), that was the …


How much does data weigh in flash memory?

An interesting article in the New York Times has been making the rounds of the internet lately. It talks about the tiny theoretical increase in weight of a Kindle when its memory is full as opposed to when it’s empty. Since I’ve previously written about the weight of …


Website maintenance with git, the pro way

Since the beginning of version control, people have been using VCSs to manage websites. It works pretty well, because the process of web development is similar to the process of programming. Heck, with the advent of dynamic websites these days, often half of web development is programming. But web developers …


How much does data weigh?

An interesting question came up on StackOverflow: does a hard drive weigh more when it’s full than when it’s empty? Or more generally, does the weight of a hard drive change depending on how much (and what) data is stored in it?

First of all, as far as …

All my posts