Beeby in raft on science trip to Galapagos.
This is an installment in a series of profiles called “7 Things” about O’Dowd’s terrific faculty and staff that is regularly featured on our website. Visit http://www.bishopodowd.org/7things/ to see more.
What inspired you to do this kind of work?
Throughout my life, I’ve had many opportunities to teach and coach, and I’ve always felt fully actualized during these times. With my gigs prior to teaching, it often seemed I was in an aquarium and real life was what was happening on the outside. At the end of a day of teaching, I feel I am making a difference, I am helping our planet, I am totally used up – in a good way.
What is your position here and how long have you worked at O’Dowd?
I teach Earth and Space Science and Engineering Physics. I started teaching here in 2004. One of the many things that makes this school special is its focus on the whole person-not just the academics. I love to help out with our retreat programs, the Living Lab, field science trips, etc.
Beeby with student on annual hike to Angel Island.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received (generally – it doesn’t have to be related to O’Dowd)?
The advice to “be as conscious as you can be in the present moment because the present moment is all that there is” was a game-changer for me.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I love my students. I love what I teach. They are both a continual source of inspiration for me. I especially love connecting students with the natural world.
What about your field or position do you think would surprise people the most?
Ninety-six percent of our universe is comprised of dark matter and dark energy. And yet, at present, scientists cannot say with any confidence what these are. We think we have a handle on the remaining four percent – planets, stars, galaxies, atoms, etc., but we are learning more about this four percent every day. And there is growing support for the notion that there may be an infinite number of multiverses, each one having its own unique set of physical laws. For me, these are humbling facts that beg the question: what do we really know? (For some reason, this all makes me feel simultaneously insignificant and calm.)
What is the most interesting or surprising thing about you?
I think that folks would be surprised to learn that I’ve held quite a wide array of jobs in my life. A partial list of these includes: paperboy, dishwasher, musician, farm worker, crisis-line counselor, civil rights attorney, fork-lift operator, gun club employee, grocery store clerk, clothing store manager, computer consultant, title analyst, wilderness guide, corporate counsel, teacher, baker, carpenter, tennis coach, environmental lawyer, lumberyard foreman, fruit packing house technician, etc.
Beeby the bee keeper harvests honey.
If you could rescue only one thing from your burning office, what would it be?
Anton Brammer (my office mate). He’s my hero. Anton says that I’ve set a low bar for myself, but I know better.
What is your favorite kind of music/what are your favorite bands?
I love all types of music. I just saw an amazing performance by DakhaBrakha, a spectacular world music quartet from Kyiv, Ukraine. Lately, I’ve been listening a lot to FIP radio out of Paris-an eclectic mix. I also love (thankfully!) the music that my wife makes in her two bands: True Life Trio (www.truelifetrio.com)and Janam (www.janamband.com). Finally, I fancy myself a percussionist and have been playing a lot of cajon (box drum) since the beginning of the year.
What is your favorite sports team or who is your favorite individual athlete?
I really enjoy watching Steph Curry play-with or without the ball. This experience is especially delightful if you are lucky enough to be in earshot of Thien (Pham) and Brianna (Loewinsohn) screaming “dunk it!”