Kirit Karkare, violin, 1998-2007
bio written 2018
After finishing high school in 2007, I attended the California Institute of Technology for an undergrad degree in physics. I then moved across the country for graduate school at Harvard University, completing a Ph.D. in astrophysics in 2017. Now I am a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Chicago, where my time is spent building, deploying, and operating the world's most advanced microwave telescopes. I use these telescopes---located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station---to answer the most basic question in cosmology: how did the Universe begin?
In college I continued to play violin in the Caltech-Occidental Symphony Orchestra. While I have not played regularly for the last few years, during my deployments to Antarctica I have been a violinist, pianist, and bassist for several bands! The nine years I spent with CVYO remain the longest I've been involved with an educational institution, and they shaped me in a few fundamental ways. Of course there is the prosaic stuff---becoming familiar with the musical canon, learning the mechanics of playing in a large ensemble, exploring the uncharted underbelly of the Civic Arts Plaza. But more importantly, I am grateful for the long-term friendships I developed with both fellow musicians and the staff, and for the supportive environment that emphasized inclusion over competition. It's hard to imagine growing up without CVYO every week.