Catherine Asaro was born in Oakland, California and grew up in El Cerrito, just north of Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. in Chemical Physics and MA in Physics, both from Harvard, and a BS with Highest Honors in Chemistry from UCLA. Sites where she has conducted research include the University of Toronto in Canada, the Max Planck Institut für Astrophysik in Germany, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Much of her research uses quantum theory to describe the behavior of atoms and molecules. Catherine served full-time as a physics professor until 1990, when she established Molecudyne Research. In recent years, she has begun to turn her attention toward educating the next generation of mathematicians and scientists, teaching homeschooled students who compete with top students throughout the nation.
Catherine Asaro’s fiction is a successful blend of hard science fiction, romance, and exciting space adventure. Her novel, The Quantum Rose, won the Nebula Award for best novel of 2001. She is a three-time winner of the Romantic Times Book Club award for “Best Science Fiction Novel.” She has written over 20 novels, many of which belong to her Saga of the Skolian Empire. In addition, she has published short fiction in Analog magazine and in several anthologies, as well as reviews, nonfiction essays, and scientific papers. Her paper “Complex Speeds and Special Relativity,” which appeared in the April 1996 issue of The American Journal of Physics, forms the basis for some of the science in her novels.
A former ballerina, Catherine Asaro has performed with ballets and in musicals on both coasts and in Ohio. In the 1980’s she was a principal dancer and artistic director of the Mainly Jazz Dancers and the Harvard University Ballet.
Her husband is John Kendall Cannizzo, an astrophysicist (the proverbial “rocket scientist”) at NASA. They have one daughter, a ballet dancer and award-winning mathematician.