(For my academic CV please use the sidebar on the left to navigate to the "CV" page. Thank you.)
According to my passport, I was born on December 03, 1975 in a country that as of 1991 does not exist. A large part of my childhood was spent above the Arctic Circle, in a city called Murmansk. (Yes, it is cold. Yes, in December, there is no sunrise. On the bright side, in June, there is no sunset!)
I later moved to Sosnovy Bor (also in russian), a small town located 80 km west of St. Petersburg, on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. The town was very thoughtfully planned to preserve the natural scenery (hence the name, translated as Pine Forest), ironically it is known primarily as home to the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (also in russian). The town's second attraction is its unique children's playground, Andersengrad, a miniature fortress inhabited by characters of Andersen's fairy tales inviting kids to play (built in the year of my birth, which also happened to be the UNESCO's year of Hans Christian Andersen).
Having fallen in love with snow and cross-country skiing during the long Murmansk winters (thanks to my beloved grandparents, and especially to my grandfather, who in his late 70s would still participate in cross-country skiing marathons), I continued skiing in Sosnovy Bor: my elementary and middle school years were fully devoted to biathlon. Ex post fortunately (although, not without profound sadness at the time), in 1990 my parents and I decided that it was time for me to part with the rifle and to focus on a 'proper' education. (Andreas' theory is that by 1990 we had realized that the Soviet Union was highly unlikely to ever invade Germany on skies, and that it was time to move on).
I thus followed in my mother's footsteps and entered the Physics and Math Boarding School Number 45 of St. Petersburg State University, currently known as the Academic Gymnazium (in russian). Those branded by Number 45, would agree that the school gave us by far more than just an excellent education. Every time I run across the 'Academic Gymnazium' link on someone's webpage, I feel that I have found yet another member of my extended family.
After high school, this time inspired by my father's example, I became a student of the Physics Faculty (also in russian) of St. Petersburg State University. I specialized in Statistical Physics, and in 1998 successfully defended my B.S. thesis titled Accounting for the boundedness of a system in the problem of multiple scattering of electromagnetic waves in a highly heterogeneous medium. (Yes, I too have a hard time pronouncing it).
Both, the Academic Gymnazium and the Faculty of Physics are located in Peterhof (also in russian), an extremely picturesque suburb of St. Petersburg. Exploring the parks that were once part of an official royal summer residence is an unforgettable experience. If you ever visit St. Petersburg, make sure to include Peterhof on your top ten list.
During the 1995/96 academic year I visited the University of Michigan on an exchange program (via the American Collegiate Consortium). Strict regulations of the Russian educational system meant no 'study abroad' credits, and I used the year to explore fields other than physics and math (no such liberty at the Faculty of Physics in Russia). One of the 'randomly chosen' subjects was economics, which the naïve Russian physics student thought synonymous with 'making money'. Needless to say, she was in for a surprise.
I very much enjoyed my econ courses (special thanks to Ted Bergstrom and Susanto Basu) and upon completing my B.S. in Physics, returned to Ann Arbor as a Ph.D. student in Economics. A few years later, in July 2005, I started my job as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, at the University of Toronto. Some years later I was granted tenure, and I am an Associate Professor there.
On a very special note, Andreas and I are forever indebted to the Institute for Advanced Studies of Jerusalem and the organizers of the Memorial Symposia. Who knows when and where our paths (mind you, a path of a Russian studying in the United States and a German studying in the United Kingdom) would have crossed, had it not been for the year 2000 Summer School in Economic Theory. And now we are
three: on an auspicious date of August 23, 2008 (or 23/23/23) we welcomed to the world our new family member, Sophia Marie.
Update: we are now four! On June 19, 2010 Sophia, Andreas and I were joined by Clara Isabelle (lovingly called "baby Clara" by her big sister "Phia").