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My Coherent History

Robin Blume-Kohout


I was born on a kitchen table in the Alaskan bush in 1976.  I grew up in a cabin on the Tozitna River, with occasional side trips to Mexico, Belize, Fairbanks, Las Vegas, and a few other places in the company of my parents, Jack Blume and Karen Kohout.  At times, they seem to have believed that I was produced by aliens.

In 1988 we moved to Apache Junction (AZ), where I learned about social interaction through junior high school, and Mom earned an M.S.W at Arizona State University.  We moved back to Fairbanks (AK), I started at Lathrop High School in 1990, and I graduated in 1994.  Along the way I spent three years swimming for L.H.S. and Midnight Sun Swim Team, set a couple of state records in swimming, and won competitions in various things (e.g., swimming, track, math, photography).

I moved all the way to Gambier (OH) in 1994, to attend Kenyon College.  I graduated in 1998 with various honors.  In between I spent four years swimming, and won three individual national titles and four team titles.  I also managed to minor in mathematics and collect majors in English (thesis title, John McPhee and the Literature of Fact, with Prof. Timothy Shutt) and physics (thesis title, Chaos in the Quantum Measurement Record, with Prof. Benjamin Schumacher).  More importantly, I collected a set of friends who are a bunch of the neatest people in the world, and with whom I expect to be close for the rest of my life.

I moved to Berkeley in 1998 to start graduate school at Cal.  I spent 2 ½ years in residence at Berkeley, during which I met a few more really good friends and a wonderful girl, played ultimate for a year and a half, and experimented with heavy drinking.  The latter began to lose its appeal when I moved Los Alamos (~7200 ft.) in January of 2001, and discovered that high altitude makes the hangover worse.  Except for a great semester at UC-Santa Barbara's KITP in the fall of 2001, I've  spent the past four years in Los Alamos. 

Meg joined me from Berkeley in early 2002, and we married on January 31, 2004 at Wayne (PA) Presbyterian Church.  I spent the next 14 months working like a maniac on my dissertation on decoherence & quantum information (Decoherence and Beyond, with Dr. Wojciech H. Zurek), which I completed and filed on March 28, 2005 -- in all its 422 pages of glory.  I moved to Southern California on April 10, 2005, after packing my car so efficiently as to amaze almost everyone around with its overflowingness.  I actually graduated about 6 weeks later -- on May 20, 2005 -- which still sort of amazes me.