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Jennifer Ouellette is a science writer currently based in Los Angeles, California. She is the author of four popular science books for the general public: Me, Myself and Why: Searching for the Science of Self (2014), The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse (2010), The Physics of the Buffyverse (2007), and Black Bodies and Quantum Cats: Tales from the Annals of Physics (2006), all published by Penguin.
Jennifer's work has appeared in the Washington Post, Slate, Smithsonian, Mental Floss, Discover, Salon, Nature, Physics Today, Symmetry, Physics World, and New Scientist, among other venues. She maintains a personal science-and-culture blog at Scientific American called Cocktail Party Physics, featuring her avatar altar-ego/evil twin, Jen-Luc Piquant, and is a regular contributor to Quanta, an editorially independent online publication of the Simons Foundation.
She has strong interests in the intersection of science and popular culture, and communicating science. From November 2008 to October 2010, Jennifer was the founding director of the Science & Entertainment Exchange, a Los Angeles-based initiative of the National Academy of Sciences aimed at fostering creative collaborations between scientists and entertainment industry professionals. From February through April 2008, she was Journalist in Residence at the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In May 2009, she was an instructor at the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop, and was also journalist in residence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison's journalism school, in October 2010. From 2012-2015, she served on the Committee on Science and Technology Engagement with the Public (CoSTEP) for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. From 2013-2015, she served on the Committee on Informing the Public of the American Physical Society.
Over the years, Jennifer has covered such varied topics as the acoustics of Mayan pyramids and New York City subways; the physics of bubbles; fractal patterns in the paintings of Jackson Pollock; the underlying science behind architectural arches; and the precarious pitfalls of pseudoscience. Her 1997 article on concert hall acoustics for The Industrial Physicist garnered an award in science writing from the Acoustical Society of America. She holds a black belt in jujitsu, and has been known to draw upon that expertise from time to time to demonstrate the fundamentals of Newtonian mechanics to the general public. Jennifer is married to Caltech physicist (and fellow author/blogger) Sean (M.) Carroll.