Me — Through the Heart of Every Man

Through the Heart of Every Man

About Me

My name is Duncan. I am 21, and have lived most of my life in rural Arkansas. I graduated in 2023 from LSU, cum laude, with dual degrees in math and physics, and have at various times been employed as a dishwasher, maintainence guy, tutor, data science intern, embedded developer, and research scientist. I currently am a software engineer at Northrop-Grumman (pending clearance).


Academic Interests

Physical Science

I've planned on studying physics since I was 5. I enjoy studing almost anything that's natural and dead, and all my other interests are largely subsidiary to this. I like the areas where physics intersects with math, particularly when it does so in mathematically-exciting ways. I also loved my classes about emergent phenomena: thermodynamic, statistical, and condensed-matter physics. I spent the latter half of my time working under Jeff Chancellor's Space Radiation Transport and Applied Nuclear Physics (SpaRTAN physics) research group, doing embedded design of radiation detectors and writing improvements for transport code.


I view math primarily as a tool for physical science and philosophy in general. Accordingly, I want to get to the frontier of the discipline as fast as possible: I probably will need to make new tools. The only domain that seems not to have borne much practical fruit, except as a target for developing "real" tools, is number theory. However, I particularly like topology/geometry and algebra, and would prefer if analysis and discrete math borrowed as many of its tools and methods as possible.


Fundamentally, computer science is a branch of mathematics, in my view. I am interested in ways to compute as abstractly, efficiently, securely, and correctly as possible. As such, I enjoy functional and logic programming languages, which succeed by representing computation in maximally mathematical form, using the abstractions that have been most useful in a general context. I like writing things in Haskell and Lisp. I have written many things in Python, C, and Fortran. I didn't enjoy it (although Fortran was much better than expected—prefered to C). I would like to learn Rust to replace the latter two, and also Lean for formal verification of mathematics and programs. Julia as a scripting language is also intriguing, for projects consumed by people allergic to parentheses. Software that is not Free might as well not be software at all. I use GNU Emacs for almost everything.


For all of the above, you have to build real, material things. Physical science requires the construction of detectors, accelerators, and whatnot; mathematics needs blackboards, chalk, printing presses, and a society to ignore; and computation needs computers and network technology. This is predominantly electrical work—designing silicon, circuits, wire protocols, radios, and so on. I've done a fair bit of this. However, that electrical work is predicated on things like power generation, structures to protect the electronics, etc. So, I aspire to learn "real" CAD at some point, and understand these things too.


There simply is not enough time in a person's life for autarkic, first-principles generation of every part of every thing one's primary interests depend on. Nevertheless, understanding those parts is important, even critical. A general understanding of human action, particularly of catallactic action, is understanding of this outsourcing itself. Austrian economics helps one act in the world—explicating the function of social institutions as no other approach. The critical error of conventional economics, as with many social- and life-science disciplines, is thoughtless application of the methods of physical science, without careful consideration of whether the philosophical conditions on which the correctness of those methods depend are present. These fail spectacularly in analysis of action: the wants and desires of humans are not immutable, comparable quantities. However, Austrian economists tend to thoughtlessly reject methodological precision due to superficial association with these historical fallacies. A mathematical, in the truest sense, grounding for the reasoning of Mises, Rothbard, and Hoppe is a longstanding pet project of mine.

Foundations: Philosophy and Theology

All of this again rests on some foundational definitions and propositions about the nature of reality, truth, reason, mind, beauty, and morality. Very recently, I've become acutely interested in these foundations, particularly the philosophy of mathematics and science. I am metaphysically an ardent platonist, and believe that analysis of the problem of perception in a platonist context contains parts identifiable with mathematics and science. This analysis, however, carries little further: I am attracted to methodological anarchy, which holds that there is no essential distinction between practice, philosophy, teaching, and history of science (and mathematics). Anything and everything there is fair game—and many scientific revolutions are the spoils of such foundational assaults.

That the philosophical tradition which created the modern world emerged almost exclusively out of Abrahamic religion, and that its sustaining manifestation is almost exclusively owed to Protestant Christians, carries tremedous weight with me. I see no essential difference between these theological premises and philosophy, save methodology—the former implemented in story, and the latter rhetoric—and accordingly extend foundational interest to Christiandom.

Blind Spots

I don't know much about linguistics, aesthetics/art, or psychology. These are similarly foundational, as philosophy can only be communicated through language, must be bootstrapped by the beautiful (usually stories), and must be done by the human mind. I would like to learn these things, but am not taking active measures in any capacity to do so at the moment.


I dislike: OOP, Javascript, the Intel Management Engine, almost all TV and movies, number theory, measure theory, drugs, the War on Drugs, appeals to authority, the Federal Reserve System, occupational licensure, and collectivism.

Touching Grass

I listen to (.*?)core, rock and metal from the 60s–80s, microtonal and avant-garde jazz and classical, and old standards. I all-too-seldom go outside: when I remember I enjoy it, I resistance train, hike, (spin|fly) fish, (snow|water) ski, climb, and mountaineer. I read high fantasy and sci-fi obsessively for about 10 years, and occasionally go back through the Tolkein, Jordan, and Sanderson novels I love. I watch a lot of football and baseball; my Tigers picked up a ring in each while I was there.