When I first started college, I planned to study engineering. One of the requirements was to take physics. I discovered I loved physics, changed my major, and never looked back. Physics to me was cool because it is predictive. Given a set of observations and some assumptions about how the world works, I could predict what would happen. In the beginning, the problems were simple, but as I studied and learned, the problems became more complex, as did the way I approached solving them. I loved the elegance and simple sophistication of the great theories people had devised to understand our world.
But physics isn’t perfect. Inevitably, we have to make approximations in our mathematical formalisms, or simplify our assumptions about how the world works. Usually, it’s because we can’t find solutions otherwise, and sometimes it’s because we don’t understand the world well enough. Some people are bothered by this, but for me, I think that a close answer is often good enough. And when it’s not, well then, I try to improve the approximation.
I was initially attracted to physics because it’s a basic science that treats the world from the smallest regions inside the nucleus to the largest galaxies in the universe and everything in between. For me, physics was an investigative path through life. Later, I realized that the skills I had acquired learning physics could have practical application to concrete problems that people care about and could address the human condition.
Our work at Veracity allows us to address complex problems that are important, even critical, to our customers. We use our knowledge of the customer’s enterprise and the predictive tools we have developed to help our customers make decisions. My physics training taught me to use predictive analytics, with approximations where necessary, to solve hard problems. Our customers appreciate and acknowledge our ability to help them using this approach.
Michael Webb is the Operations Analysis Lead for the Veracity Forecasting Group. He holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Michigan and a B.S. in Physics from Brigham Young University.