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The Omnivor

Fruit Fly
Genome Music

Ambiguous Figures

Martian Government
in Exile, etc.



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Short Bio

Carl Frederick is a theoretical physicist, at least theoretically. After a post-doc at NASA and a stint at Cornell University, he left theoretical astrophysics and his first love, quantum relativity theory (a strange first love, perhaps) in favor of hi-tech industry. He is Chief Scientist of a small company doing AI software. He has two more-or-less grown children and shares his house with a pet robot. For recreation, he fences epee, learns languages, and plays the bagpipes. He lives in rural, Ithaca, New York. And rural is good if you play the bagpipes. Although shopping around a novel faster than a speeding glacier, he is predominately a short story writer. His work appears mainly (and thankfully, often) in Analog.

A Slightly Longer Version

Theoretically, I am a theoretical physicist. Even though I left the comforts of academia years ago, and haven't published in my field of Quantum Relativity for some time, I still think of myself as a physicist. Physics is not so much a field of employ as a way of life and perhaps even a religion. As for religion itself however, I am an observant but non-proselytizing vegetarian.

I was raised according to the precepts of both Spocks (Mr. and Dr.) and regard Logic as the ultimate arbiter in human affairs.

I work as 'Chief Scientist' of a small high-tech company. Half of our staff works in New York City while the other half, of which I am a member, operates from the little academic city of Ithaca, NY. I do far too much computer programming.

Before I came to (and subsequently left) Cornell I worked as an astro-physicist at NASA's Goddard Institute. There, I was actually an experimentalist. I designed and built balloon-borne telescopes for making far-infra-red astronomical observations. Although we launched them from diverse sites in Arizona and Argentina, most of the launches were from Palestine, Texas. From my three months out of every year in Texas, I learned a lot about cattle, and mastered a few nifty roping knots.

My training as an experimentalist was useful as it enabled me to design the world's first digital (1200 baud) modem. Venture Capital came in. Our company was moved to Boston (Chelmsford), and we became the first manufacturer of cheap, digital modems. I found I was unhappy in my role of captain of industry, or even of lance-corporal of industry. I left my company, Wolfdata, and returned to Ithaca.

Ithaca is a company town (Cornell U), and I love it here. I have a loose affiliation with the university and have the luxury of not being dependent on it for my livelihood.

Several years ago, I decided that I'd like to write Science Fiction. Although some of my colleagues might say my research papers fall into that genre, this sort of writing was new to me. I've written a few novels and a respectable corpus of short stories. I've even put an interactive novel on the Web. It is interactive in that you can click to change the point of view and to expose sub-plots. WWW.darkzoo.net, if you are interested.

I play Scottish bagpipes. I particularly enjoy playing piobaireachd, the graceful, haunting, 'classical music' of the pipes. I like more conventional classical music also.

I'm an epee fencer. A few years ago, due to a shoulder sprain, I started fencing left-handed. It was like 'coming home'. I started life as a left-hander, but was forcibly switched in school.

I used to play chess seriously, but when computers got good enough to beat me at chess, I quit the game. When I played actively, I was a low-ranked Candidate Master. I take no pride in it though, as I regard playing a good game of chess as a sign of a misspent youth - poorly misspent at that.

Language is a hobby. When I was a kid, I thought the more languages you could speak, the better you could think. I still sort of believe that. I like speaking different languages. It's not that I am particularly proficient in them, but I have no shame.

I am a nut on animals and now, for the first time since grad school, again have a cat (who adopted me during one of my weekly volunteering sessions at our local SPCA).

Until my kids outgrew the programme, I was a scoutmaster for a troop of high-ability, lunatic kids. I eventually gave it up for lack of time, but I miss it.
I have two children, boys. My younger son lives here in Ithaca whilst the other has fled the nest, married a wonderful, aspiring actress, and moved to a larger pond. My son's wife and I commiserate often on the difficulties in breaking in to our respective desired disciplines. It amazes me how similar our problems are. Trying to break into writing, I find I have the same angst as the common, garden-variety, young writer. In a way, it is exciting embarking on a new life and reliving the pangs of youth. However, the angst is rapidly overtaking the excitement.

I'm a year 2000 graduate of the Odyssey Writers Workshop and a first place winner in the Writers of the Future contest.

And, of course, I've a novel making the rounds faster than a speeding glacier, and another one being written.

Not a particularly recent image , I'm afraid.

A more recent photo.
Click on the photo to see me without the mask.

    Piping at Scout Camp