I’m overeducated and like to tell jokes. I was raised in Milwaukee (my parents were Polish-Jewish immigrants) and have lived in Italy, Israel and everywhere in America except the Northeast. I’ve been a Duke University professor and a restaurant dishwasher (one paid a lot better, the other might have been a bit more fun). I’m generally very happy and sometimes very cranky. I’ve been married for longer than is legal in California (shhh…don’t tell the authorities). Somehow along the way, I became America’s grade inflation czar (I don’t understand how this happened, honest).

I’ve written tons of science articles, hundreds of songs, a good number of op-eds for newspapers, and two books: one published memoir about my days as a professor (Gone for Good, Oxford, 1999) and a comic novel about Polish-Russian émigrés, The Mathematician’s Shiva, which was published by Penguin Books in September 2014.

The novel is partly about the Navier-Stokes Millennium Prize problem, which examines the mathematical appropriateness of the Navier-Stokes equation to describe turbulent fluid flow. But mostly the novel is a comedy about the American immigrant experience.

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a new novel about an Omaha family that owns an Italian restaurant whose success depends on the fragile support of Omaha’s most famous resident, Warren Buffett. I’m also working on the libretto for an opera about Henry Ford.

Those interested in CVs (warning: very long and ridiculously detailed like all academic CVs) can find mine here.