Hi! My name is Grzegorz Kotkowski, but for simplicity call me Greg. I’m an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) in the AMVA4NewPhysics Project at the Department of Statistical Sciences of the University of Padova.
I graduated from Wrocław University of Technology (Poland) with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Mathematics and I also got a Bachelor’s diploma in Physics. My way to becoming an ESR was like a random walk with drift. I’ve never had any precise plan for my future. My decisions about my education were almost taken randomly, but each of them brought me closer to becoming a junior data scientist.
When I was about 12 years old my grandfather showed me an article about CERN and told me that only the smartest people were working there and that he saw me to be a part of the project. Well, I didn’t shoot that high at that time, but it was the starting point for my interest in physics and cosmology.
Time went on and without bigger effort I was doing just great in school. I was accepted to attend one of the best high schools in Poland. During that time I went on a one-year exchange to Canada were my horizons were really broadened and I became quite enthusiastic about studying.
However I couldn’t decide which field of study to choose at university, so I chose to do everything that is interesting to me. That is how I ended up studying in parallel at two faculties, learning Mathematics and Physics. In the mean time I also learnt lots about Economics and Computer Science.
As this wasn’t enough, at that time I also met the girl of my life and we got married at age 22. During my Master’s I mostly focused on Data Mining and Big Data. I even got a job at Datarino, a company dealing with Big Data, where I worked for half a year. I got the chance to put my hands on real Big Data and challenge myself in discovering underlying patterns, predicting and modelling.
At this point everything in my life seemed to settle down. I had a good job and was about to graduate and my wife and I decided to have a baby as we felt that it was just the right time. This was right before I decided that for my Master’s thesis instead of data mining I wanted to get into probability theory of multivariate data…
During that time I discovered deep in myself that working for science is my way to go. My tutor recommended me to apply for AMVA4NewPhysics as the project concerns all my main passions: Math, Physics and Data Mining. My wife and I decided to have a try. To my surprise I was actually chosen and with my two-months old daughter and my wife I came to Italy, ready for this new adventure.
Well, I’m still in a little shock when I realize where I am and what I do. I’m happy to see that passionate studying actually led me to finding the job of my dreams. It seems that life is really unpredictable for me.
I’m sorry if my post is too personal for you. I promise that the others will be more about my research, but just for this moment I had to give a vent to my emotions.