Sean G. Carver's Biography
Evidently I was interested in math and science at a very early age: one of my first memories is of arguing with my mother, quite befuddled, about the sum of 2+2. She had told me that 1+1=2, so clearly, I reasoned, 2+2=3. I understood the concept of "successor" better than "sum", and I had incorrectly generalized. Unfortunately, I had to take my mother's word for it, for she was a loss to explain. I hope to meet an infant some day (if not my own child) with the same confusion. I would love to show this child, with blocks, just what it means to add two numbers together.
In high school, a progressive alternative public school in Arlington, Virgina, my favorite subject was physics, probably because a superb teacher, Harvey Wynn, brought the subject to life and conveyed to me a deep fascination with the concepts. I started college as a physics major, but soon switched to Applied Mathematics after a magical Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. That summer I fell in love with dynamical systems, and continued in this field as a graduate student.
In graduate school at Cornell University, I discovered that my favorite dynamical systems were animal nervous systems, or mathematical models inspired by them. I wrote my dissertation in Applied Mathematics, on the control of human running, under the direction of the renowned Dr. John Guckenheimer. My association with Dr. Guckenheimer makes me the academic grandson of a Mathematics Field's Medalist (Steven Smale).
By the time I first became a postdoctoral fellow, I had realized that I needed to tie my investigations to real experimental data. It was during this first postdoctoral experience, in John Jeka's lab at the University of Maryland, that I learned about systematic methods for fitting models to data and became fascinated by the clinical problem of applying these methods to identifying deficits in human balance. In 2006 I jumped at the chance to join Eric Fortune's lab at The Johns Hopkins University. The stint in Eric's lab broadened my perspective on sensorimotor processing, by introducing me to a level of analysis not possible with humans (for ethical reasons).
In September 2009 I began working with Michael Hines as an Associate Research Scientist in Gordon Shepard's lab in the Neurobiology Department at Yale University. I was hired to expand system identification functionality within the NEURON simulation environment. In September 2011, I returned to Johns Hopkins for two years. In September 2013 I moved to American University where I now reside.