Thomas D. Gutierrez


Since the fall of 2006 I have been an assistant professor of physics in the Department of Physics at the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, CA. My research interests are primarily in neutrino physics, quantum information, and the physics of music. While I would like to keep the site online forever, I'm (very) slowly migrating my professional pages to a new web site, This current site ( has been in operation since 1996 and I would like to thank Prof. Daniel Cebra for allowing me to keep my homepage with the UC Davis nuclear group for so many years. You can also learn more about what I'm up to at my blog, Cryptohedonology.



Until June of 2006 I was a postdoc at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory working on two related neutrinoless double beta decay projects called Cuoricino and the proposed CUORE experiment (also visit the LBL-CUORE site). I also did some theory work, exploring two-particle neutrino interferometry. The Cuoricino and CUORE experiments are located at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy. This gave me the opportunity to spend about 4 weeks a year in Gran Sasso at the LNGS. I've also worked with the STAR collaboration at RHIC studying pion interferometry (a.k.a. Hanbury-Brown Twiss or "femtoscopy") in proton-proton collisions. Here is a link to some of my publications.

Between June of 2000 and 2004 I was a Faculty Fellow then a postdoctoral researcher at the
University of California, Davis, Department of Physics working primarily on STAR physics but also working a little with NA49. I spent 2002-2004 in residence at LBNL. While in Davis, working with Wendell Potter and Daniel Cebra, I had the opportunity to teach Physics 7B (offered in the winter and spring) and two Physics 250 courses (Journal Club). I also taught my own version of Physics 9A, undergraduate mechanics for science and engineering majors, in the Spring of 2002.

I received my Ph.D. in physics in the Spring of 2000 from the University of California, Davis working with Ramona Vogt from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. My dissertation [.pdf,.ps] studies a particular coalescence mechanism for charm quarks and light gluinos in the context of the intrinsic charm model.

Other physics interests include studying nuclear matter under extreme conditions, quantum computing, higher order quantum interferometry, fundamentals of quantum mechanics, neutrino physics, and pedagogical methods in physics.


Previous studies have been at San Jose State University (Department of Physics) where I received my Master's degree (1994) working with Joe Becker, Todd Sauke, and Friedemann Freund. Research for my Master's thesis was carried out with the SILS Lab in the Exobiology Group at NASA Ames Research Center. While I was involved with the group, the project was concerned with precision measurements of C12/C13 isotope ratios in CO2 gas using infrared tunable diode laser spectroscopy. In addition to exobiology, the instrument had promising applications in geology, biology, and medical diagnostics. As an undergraduate, while working with the same research group at NASA, I received a BS in physics in as well as minors in mathematics and music (1991).

Curriculum Vitae

For a recent rundown on my professional history, feel free to glance at my CV.

Hobbies & Interest


My interest in music exists both as a listener, a composer, and a performer (though not so much of the latter these days). Starting from an early age, I had formal lessons in the accordian (1st grade), clarinet (4th grade), organ (6th-7th grade), tuba (high school), and bass (high school onward). I went to high school at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, CA, playing the bass in the jazz band and the tuba in the concert/marching band (ask me about the senior band trip sometime...). I also played bass in a band called Osiris with Paul Lesinski (who works for the PR firm A&R Partners and is now performing with Colorfield in Portland, OR), Kevin Brown (now VP of marketing at Decru), Tom Luce (founder of the popular Bay Area band Luce), Eric Johnson (a general contractor in the Bay Area), and, during our early years, Todd Tholke (who now hosts Open Mic at Sacred Grounds Cafe in SF).

As an undergraduate, I received a minor in music from SJSU and performed in several ensembles (jazz improv, pop, rock, pit orchestra, experimental etc.). During the post Osiris days from 1986 until I moved to Davis in 1994, the band names changed nearly daily (as is typical) but a few to remember: ARVK, Golden Dawn, Nimoy, Fred, Dark's Ensemble, The Strangers, and The World Music Ensemble (where the director would walk in and say something like "play on the color yellow" then walk away). During those years, I learned how to play 6-string guitar, bought a 4-track of my own (circa 1987), and did lots of solo home recordings (known collectively as "The Irod Project"). I also did many projects with various friends and collaborators. This includes partnerships with Rob Perrier ("People that Wear Coats", "Cold Out Here", etc.), Fred Goris ("Humming My Song", "Leviathan the Fish", etc.), Keith Van Dierendonck ("People that Wear Coats", etc.), Paul Smith ("Humming My Song", "A Voice From the Past", "Metastofolees [sic] Ate My Lunch", etc.), Dan Quinn ("Toy", "Leviathan the Fish"), Chris D'Urso ("A Basket of Poet's Hair"), John Dietz ("Jesus 'Physics' Ramerez [sic] Eats Flames (H.D.)", "REAK Fight Song"), Shannon Gomes ("Metastofolees [sic] Ate My Lunch"), Alex DeLuca, Dave Hendrickson, and a host of others. Some of those works are now collectivly know as "Symphonic Conglomerate's Next 23 Miles". Some quriky, as-yet-determined, combination of works from the "The Irod Project", "Next 23 Miles", and various other pieces constitute the always-a-work-in-progress "Smaàgiontopüe: The Epic SCUMA Rock Opera".

The first post-Orisis band I played in was called Fred with Greg Bradbury, Eric Johnson, Paul Lesinski, and Bill Moyer (no, not "Bill Moyers"). The group was named after Greg's sweet but bogus ancient dog Fred (not my good friend Fred Goris, as many assumed at the time). Other incarnations of the same group were called ARVK ("Aardvark") then Nimoy; Greg Heltman sang for us. These bands were fun, folky, slop-rock groups. We would occasionally go on "weekend retreats" and visit a small farm in Santa Rosa. Bill's brother lived there while he was in the Coast Guard stationed in San Francisco. This series of retreat-gigs became known as Fred on the Farm (there is, without question, an easy Spinaltapism lurking -- especially with the whole "Bill's a Dong" fiasco, which I won't go into here). After the bands Fred and Nimoy/ARVK, Paul Lesinski, Kevin Brown, and I formed the highly structured Dark's Ensemble (try saying it ten times fast) and cranked out a series of progressive rock pieces including our magnum opus "Dream of Kings". During this same period (overlapping from late high school through our early university years), Paul Lesinski and I hit an creative experimental stride with a series of weird-ass pieces from the school of Non Sequiturism including songs such as "Xerox the Blacksmith", "Our Awesome Earth", "Alice's Torsional Waves", and the collective works of Sey. They still haunt me in my sleep. In 1989 Kevin and I also collaborated briefly on "I'll Take My Toasty Frost", a jazzy guitar-bass-bongos instrumental.

In the early 90's, I became involved with some physics blokes at SJSU (Wayne Dawson, Mark Fallis, and Mike Masuda) in a project called The Weasles. The core of it was highly improvisational, but there were certainly structured elements too. It served as a short but sweet creative dumping ground for me (as a transient member) of the group. Mike Mauda (a true musical prodigy) and I also did our share of projects together in the early 90's including the tunes "The Measurement of Pressure" (based on introductory physics pressure lyrics courtesy Halliday and Resnick) and "All The Things That Diamonds Know" (a physics-food oriented in-joke written for our friend Eun Joo Whang's birthday). The most professional period of my otherwise quite amateur music career was playing as a substitute bass player for The Strangers in 1989 and periodically through 1992 while they operated out of both Santa Clara and San Francisco.

Other pseudo-professional gigs I did after high school included a series of fun, but somewhat random, one or few-shot gigs. After my enjoyable high school experience with the pit orchestra in Sound of Music (1986), in college I played bass in high school musical productions of Grease (at Prospect High School with Alex DeLuca circa 1989) and Carousel (at St. Francis High School circa 1987). I also played in a talent show at Mitty High School in 1987 during spring break with Dave Martin (from SFHS and SJSU) and some of his friends from Mitty (I actually pretended to smoke a pipe a la Derek Smalls DURING the gig -- that gig was surreal to say the least; I'll let Dave tell about it sometime). Tom Luce and I had fun playing a talent show together with his post-Osiris band circa 1987 (where, thanks to that band's excellent guitarist, I learned to play the Led Zeppelin song Rock and Roll properly for the first time -- not the slop-rock version).

The Davis Years (1994-2002) were practically dead musically (although I did do some small personal projects). Recently, I've been doing quite a bit of solo home recording, collaborating with my brother Leo Gutierrez on his video projects (teaming up with my wife Jennifer Klay for the vocals to the theme song for "Eggboy and The Oomancer"), taking opera lessons with Sarah Sloan, and brushing up on my Italian (primarily for work). Recently Paul, Kevin, and I have jammed a bit in preparation for the Osiris reunion at the Saint Francis High School Class of 1986 twenty-year reunion in 2006.

At some point, I plan on making some of the music I mentioned above available online (subject to appropriate collaborator permissions, of course) with detailed song and personnel descriptions. Stay tuned. If you read this and get really, really excited by the possibility of seeing any of this music available (for example, you are a former collaborator of mine!), please email me.

How to Contact Me

Thomas D. Gutierrez
California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly)
Department of Physics
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

Cryptohedonology (blog)
Dr. Tom Gutierrez
Cal Poly Physics

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