“A scientist at the core,” Daniel Magestro has applied expertise gained earning a Ph.D. in nuclear physics to a wide range of subsequent careers—from teaching to investment risk management, marketing and customer analytics, health care and supply-chain operations. “I’m driven to understand things—markets, customers, supply chains, etc.—via curiosity and data, and then leverage that increased understanding to help an organization succeed,” he said.
As the Director of Advanced Analytics for Cardinal Health’s pharmaceutical business in Columbus, Ohio, he manages the company’s usage of large data sets and advanced analysis methods to improve the cost-effectiveness of health care. He also teaches applied data analysis in the Department of Finance at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.
"My interesting career path and success in business is completely due to my time in nuclear physics.”
— Dan Magestro
“I love the understanding that comes from studying the world through data, distilling complex information to its simplest truths,” he said.
Magestro’s appreciation for the power of data began with his role analyzing terabytes of experimental data flowing from physics facilities—in particular, the STAR detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility located at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. The only operating particle collider in the United States, RHIC is used to recreate the conditions of the early universe and explore the subatomic building blocks of matter.
After earning his Ph.D. from Michigan State University, Magestro worked with a team of hundreds of scientists to extract information from thousands of particles streaming from thousands of particle collisions each second at STAR to reveal subtle details about the conditions created in those collisions—conditions that offer insight into what the universe was like just after the Big Bang and what holds matter together today.
“As a nuclear physics student, I framed problems, identified and collected the data needed, carried out the necessary analyses, innovated en route, and communicated the findings to drive decisions and next steps. All of that was carried out in collaborative, cross-functional settings where the need to simplify complex concepts was key to gaining acceptance with collaborators and the scientific community,” he said.
“In the business world, the approach has been remarkably similar.”
Whether managing risk for a pension portfolio, providing marketing advice for an insurance company or bank, or instructing undergrads in the finer points of futures trading—all of which Magestro has done—he says, “I’ve been driven by crafting and solving problems with data and with creative analyses that uniquely move something forward—understanding of nuclear matter, safer investment strategies, growth and profitability. My passion for tackling analytical problems has been the common thread from the beginning.”
Magestro is also passionate about sharing with others the extensive value that both RHIC and a first career in nuclear physics provide. “I left nuclear physics with a cool set of contributions and discoveries, and happy memories of a first career that exposed me to cultures and ideas that are deeply embedded in my worldview. My interesting career path and success in business is completely due to my time in nuclear physics.”
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