Ouellette, Jennifer

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Ouellette, Jennifer

PERSONAL:

Married, 2007. Hobbies and other interests: Holds a black belt in jujitsu.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Los Angeles, CA. Agent—Mildred Marmur, Mildred Marmur Associates, PMB 127, 2005 Palmer Ave., Larchmont, NY 10538. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, television scriptwriter, and editor. Writer for the American Institute of Physics' television project Discoveries and Breakthroughs in Science and for its Inside Science News Service.

MEMBER:

Authors Guild, National Association of Science Writers.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Science writing award, Acoustical Society of America, for article on concert hall acoustics.

WRITINGS:

Black Bodies and Quantum Cats: Tales from the Annals of Physics, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2005.

The Physics of the Buffyverse, illustrated by Paul Dlugokencky, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Discover, Salon. com, New Science, and On Earth. Also author of blog, "Cocktail Party Physics Web log."

APS News, associate editor and columnist; Industrial Physicist, former contributing editor.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jennifer Ouellette is a writer and editor who specializes in science. A biographer on Ouellette's Home Page described her as a "recovering English major who stumbled into science writing quite by accident as a struggling freelance writer in New York City." Her first book, Black Bodies and Quantum Cats: Tales from the Annals of Physics, is aimed at a mainstream audience unfamiliar with complex scientific issues; here, the author seeks to explain physical principles through pop culture references. To do so, she uses examples drawn from a wide range of interests, including the popular novel The Da Vinci Code and the movie Dr. Strangelove. In one chapter, Ouellette relates Albert Einstein's theory of relativity to the film Back to the Future.

Black Bodies and Quantum Cats earned positive reviews from critics and readers alike. For some, the author's use of pop culture references and unusual pairings made for an enjoyable read. The book "makes physics and its history entertaining," wrote one Science News contributor. Others found that Ouellette's approachable writing style made it easy for general readers to understand the detailed scientific theories contained in the book. The author's prose "encourages generalists to give physics a try," observed Gilbert Taylor in Booklist.

Ouellette again combines her interest in science with popular culture in The Physics of the Buffyverse. In the book, Ouellette considers some basic questions of physics and hard science in relation to concepts from the popular fantasy television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff, Angel. "Blending fizzy pop culture with serious science, the book illustrates many common theories and laws of physics using examples from the plots of these two defunct cult television shows," commented J.D. Biersdorfer in a New York Times Book Review assessment. With the characters, internal mythology, events, and plots of Buffy and Angel serving as her springboard, Ouellette addresses topics such as robotics, electromagnetism, conservation of mass, time loops, teleportation, quantum physics, string theory, multiple dimensions, and much more. She also muses on non-physics topics such as physiology, biology, natural selection, neurotoxicology, and telekinesis. "Humans, however empowered, fighting a variety of monsters (and without stretching credibility beyond reason) provides an engagingly different context in which to examine science," observed Hilary Williamson in a BookLoons review. Library Journal contributor Barbarly Korper McConnell commented that Ouellette's "science writing is strong, and her discussions of history and folklore interesting." Ouellette "makes an earnest effort to introduce the laws of physics to couch potatoes in a relatively painless way," Biersdorfer concluded.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 1, 2005, Gilbert Taylor, review of Black Bodies and Quantum Cats: Tales from the Annals of Physics, p. 9; December 15, 2006, Kristine Huntley, review of The Physics of the Buffyverse, p. 9.

Library Journal, November 1, 2005, Marcia Franklin, review of Black Bodies and Quantum Cats, p. 110; November 15, 2006, Barbarly Korper McConnell, review of The Physics of the Buffyverse, p. 93.

New York Times Book Review, February 25, 2007, J.D. Biersdorfer, "High School Hell," review of The Physics of the Buffyverse, p. 20.

Publishers Weekly, November 27, 2006, review of The Physics of the Buffyverse, p. 44.

San Francisco Chronicle, December 22, 2005, Phillip Manning, review of Black Bodies and Quantum Cats, p. 1.

Science News, January 21, 2006, review of Black Bodies and Quantum Cats, p. 47.

ONLINE

Blogcritics Magazine,http://blogcritics.org/ (March 2, 2007), review of The Physics of the Buffyverse.

BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (December 17, 2007), Hilary Williamson, review of The Physics of the Buffyverse.

Ficlets,http://ficlets.com/ (December 17, 2007), John Scalzi, interview with Jennifer Ouellette.

Jennifer Ouellette Home Page,http://www.jenniferouellette-writes.com (December 17, 2007).