Tony Rothman

Tony Rothman is a physicist and writer. He received a B.A. in physics from Swarthmore College in 1975 and a PhD from the Center for Relativity at the University of Texas, Austin in 1981. His area of specialization is cosmology, the study of the early universe, and he has authored about sixty scientific papers on that subject. While a graduate student Rothman studied Russian at Middlebury's Summer Language School and at Leningrad State University. After leaving Texas he did post-doctoral work in cosmology at Oxford, Moscow and  ...See more >


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"Intelligent in its technical details, but also refined and delightfully complex in its storytelling."

Kirkus Reviews


AWARDS, PRESS & INTERESTS

American Association of Publishers PROSE Award for professional and scholarly excellence in mathematics, 2008: Sacred Mathematics: Japanese Temple Geometry

Nominated for Pulitzer Prize, 1991: Physicist on Madison Avenue

Hometown Princeton, NJ

Favorite author Pushkin

Favorite book Brothers Karamazov

Day job Physicist

Unexpected skill or talent Singer

Passion in life Writing, music


BOOKS REVIEWED BY KIRKUS:

THRILLERS
Pub Date:
Page count: 411pp

In this scientific thriller (Everything’s Relative: And Other Fables from Science and Technology, 2003, etc.) a laboratory in Texas working to harness fusion energy must deal with sabotage from a rival lab—or possibly someone closer to home.

When a Controlled Fusion Research Center (CFRC) demonstration publicly fails at sustaining fusion for energy, physicist Nathaniel Machuzak is appointed acting director, partially because during the test the current director was electrocuted. Nathaniel and his colleague Slava suspect sabotage from their European competitor, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)—both labs are in a race to convert fusion into usable energy. Rothman’s novel is filled with scientific discussions on everything from the equipment used to the different types of fusion, like cold or laser, complete with corresponding jargon. But Rothman turns all of it, even a convoluted conspiracy, into a diverting, worthwhile story. The terminology is adequately explained without pretension, largely thanks to T.J. D’Abro, a female cop Nathaniel hires to work security and investigate the sabotage. She acts as both a potential romantic interest for the physicist and a repository for lay terms; for instance, she equates a pool break shot with particle accelerators. Often, the story alternates between past and present tense, sometimes in the same scene, which can be disorienting. The result is something that can read like an online game in play: “At this point Nathaniel feels blocked and remains silent”—fitting, since the cybertaunting mole might be hiding inside avatars within a roleplaying game called “The Real World.” Nathaniel falls prey to bouts of paranoia—he only seems to trust Slava and T.J.—but he seems right, since the shiftiest characters tend to be indisputably villainous: Cyrus, the previous director, who had been monitoring CFRC employees’ Internet usage; Balard, the ITER director, with obvious animosity toward all things CFRC; Senator Whitman, who openly challenges the financial strategy at Fusion Center; and Moravec, the GlobeTex chief executive officer and CFRC’s principal investor, whose limited, virtual appearances in “The Real World”—both as a male and female—suggest androgyny and omniscience. When the pervasive threat of sabotage insinuates itself into the ranks, even Nathaniel and Slava are not immune to allegations.

Intelligent in its technical details, but also refined and delightfully complex in its storytelling.

ADDITIONAL WORKS AVAILABLE:

CENSORED TALES
Short Stories

Short story collection about Soviet Union

Published:
ISBN: 0333490924
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DOUBT AND CERTAINTY
Popular philosophy of science

Discussion of what we know and don't know in science

Published:
ISBN: 0738200069
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EVERYTHING'S RELATIVE AND OTHER FABLES FROM SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
History, popular science

Expose of scientific legends

Published:
ISBN: 0471202576
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FRONTIERS OF MODERN PHYSICS
Popular Science

Popular science essays with leading physicists on relativity, cosmology, extraterrestrial intelligence, black holes.

Published:
ISBN: 048624587X
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INSTANT PHYSICS
Physics primer

Basic intro to college physics

Published:
ISBN: 0449906973
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PHYSICIST ON MADISON AVENUE
Popular science essays. Nominated for Pulitzer Prize

Pultizer-Prize nominated essay collection.

Published:
ISBN: 0691087318
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SACRED MATHEMATICS: JAPANESE TEMPLE GEOMETRY
Coffee-table mathematics book

Winner 2008, Association of American Publishers PROSE award for scholarly excellence in mathematics. History of sangaku, beautiful Japanese geometry tablets hung in Buddhist temples and Shinto Shrines

Published:
ISBN: 069112745X
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SCIENCE A LA MODE
Popular science

Collection of popular science essays

Published:
ISBN: 0691025215
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THE WORLD IS ROUND
Science fiction

Sf novel set on giant, artificial planet.

Published:
ISBN: 0345272137
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Tony Rothman Promotes Firebird at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab