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About Randy

Dreadful Facts About Me

Randy Ingermanson as a baby.Born: 1958.

Died: Not yet, but I'll get to it, just give me some time. So will you, for that matter. Not being morbid, but just look around. People tend to end up dead.

Skills: Physicist, writer, computer geek.

Randy Ingermanson in first grade.Hometown: I'm an army brat, so I lived in several different places while growing up -- mostly in Germany, Kansas, and California. The bottom line is that I don't really know where I'm from, but when people ask, I usually say I grew up in Ogden, Kansas, population about 2,000. It's right outside Fort Riley, and I was there from second grade to seventh.

Randy Ingermanson in a baseball uniform.I somehow wound up on a first-place Little League baseball team in the summer of 1970. There can be no doubt that I was indirectly responsible for most of our wins, because I played the crucial role of benchwarmer.

After that, I spent two wonderful and difficult years in Frankfurt, Germany before coming back to the states. I did all four years of high school at Monterey Bay Academy, in Watsonville, California. The school is right on the beach, but somehow we all got an education. Sort of.

Randy Ingermanson in high school.Awards: The first serious award I ever won came right at the tail end of high school, back in 1976. I was named a finalist in the Presidential Scholars Program. Basically, the government picked out the top 500 scorers on the SAT and ACT exams and annoyed us with long questionnaires and difficult essay questions until we freaked. Things like "Name the world's most serious problem. Now solve it." I sometimes wonder what they did with our answers. 

Randy Ingermanson graduating from college.College: I went to Pacific Union College, in Angwin, California, where I majored in math and physics. I've always considered myself more a physicist than a mathematician. I also did a lot of computer programming on my own time, just because I like to. So of course, when I took the GRE exams, I did best in English. Go figure.

Graduate School: I chose the University of California at Berkeley, where I got my M.A. and Ph.D. in physics, specializing in elementary particle theory. Most of my work was in nonperturbative methods in quantum field theory. My thesis was titled "Accelerating the Loop Expansion," which should be self-explanatory, but somehow isn't, at least not to most people. In simple terms, I showed how to reduce the Schwinger-Dyson equations for the effective action to a self-consistent expansion that you could integrate numerically. Simple, no? Before I wrote my thesis, I also fiddled some with solitons and the gauged Wess-Zumino effective action.

Randy and Eunice IngermansonPostdoctoral Work: I did a two-year stint at The Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio. I worked on superstring theory with Antti Niemi and Henrik Aratyn. We had a lot of fun with the Batalin-Fradkin-Vilkovisky formulation of constrained Hamiltonian systems. Impressed? I didn't think so, but doggone it, you should be.

Real World Experience: After I got the academic thing out of my system, I took a job at Maxwell Laboratories, Inc., in San Diego. I spent eight years there doing computational physics, mostly applied to plasma theory and terawatt-class electrical systems.

Then I got the bright idea to go join a startup software company and get obscenely rich. I had a lot of fun doing computational physics using C++, but the company went south, so I jumped ship back to my old job at Maxwell. Actually, while I was gone, they renamed the company Maxwell Technologies, Inc., and their stock zoomed up a factor of 10, and all the stockholders got obscenely rich. I wasn't one of them. It's so nice to be a financial genius. My job title at Maxwell was Senior Staff Scientist, whatever that is. Doesn't matter. I had a lot more of that fun doing computational physics. I'm very experienced in Fortran, C, C++, and Java. My preferred language is Java because it's simple, powerful, and runs on just about any computer.

Randy Ingermanson in the early 1990s.I had been back at Maxwell for only about a year when, you guessed it -- the stock price went in the tank and the CEO left for greener pastures. Pretty soon, people are going to figure out that basically I'm poison for any company's financial health. The fact is that some folks don't learn.

One of those nonlearners offered me a job at a biotech startup company. I started work at Q3DM in November, 2000, hoping to get obscenely rich or destroy the company or whatever. I am sorry to say that neither of those panned out. In December, 2003, the company was bought by Beckman-Coulter, a Fortune 1000 company that intended to get obscenely rich using our technology.

Of course, you can guess what happened. That's right. Beckman-Coulter invested two years developing the technology and then cancelled the project.

At that point, I decided that the companies of this world would be a lot safer without my disreputable services. So I created my own company, Ingermanson Communications, intending to never work for anyone else again. I also decided that it was a good time to cash out my house in the stratospheric San Diego real estate market and move my little family up the coast to be nearer my in-laws. I really, REALLY did not want a job anymore.

But everybody has a price, and when Vala Sciences came to me, offering a good price to do a little consulting, my vindictive side got the better of me and I decided to see if I could bring yet another company crashing to terra not-so-firma. I took the offer, sold my house, moved to southern Washington, bought a much nicer house, and now telecommute about 1000 miles to work every day. I figure when the explosion happens at Vala, I'll be far from the fallout. Things are NOT going well with the plan. I've made major improvements in Vala's software product and it now officially does some Mighty Cool Stuff. In retribution for that, Vala asked me to be a salaried part-time employee instead of a mere consultant. That may well be the missing ingredient, so possibly I'll now be able to bring the company down.

In the meanwhile, my own little communications company is really rocketing up in popularity. I now publish the largest electronic magazine in the world on the craft of writing fiction, the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine. So it may be that I've lost my poison touch. Sigh. All bad things must come to an end. Only time will tell what future havoc I'll be able to wreak on an unsuspecting planet. Keep a sharp eye. If I ever become Supreme Dictator For Life, then you'd better run for the hills.

Family: My wife Eunice has a masters degree in math and another masters degree in Slavic Languages and Literature. She's obviously a glutton for punishment. Then she married me, so her life has been nothing but suffering. We have three great kids. 

Randy Ingermanson with his daughters Carolyn and Gracie in the early 1990s.Carolyn can read about three times faster than I can. She got a degree in English Lit and helped me create the examples for my Snowflake Pro software. She also does freelance editing for a small independent publisher and is working on her masters degree.

Gracie is a math genius and will soon be heading off to grad school. When she was 13, she won the San Diego County Spelling Bee and earned a free trip to the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C., where she tied for 16th place in a field of 251 kids. 

Amy is amazingly talented on the violin, which she started studying right around her second birthday. She also started studying Tae Kwan Do a couple of years ago and now has her red belt and is showing great talent. 

Randy Ingermanson in the early 2000s.Church: Yes, some physicists believe in God, and I'm one of them. I was raised in the Seventh-Day Adventist sect, which was something of a mistake, but I didn't have any choice in the matter, did I? Frankly, it caused me a lot of cognitive dissonance growing up. 

We spent a number of years in the Coast Vineyard in La Jolla, which is a church, not a winery. While we lived in San Diego, I also liked to hang out at Kehilat Ariel, a Messianic Jewish congregation in San Diego, where I learned to read Hebrew. I enjoyed the music and the liturgy there, although I was never a member. 

We've joined a smallish church here in Washington, but for privacy reasons, I'm not going to tell you where it's at. Sorry about that. As I've gotten more famous (or rather, notorious), I've learned to value my privacy. I'm sure you understand.

Randy Ingermanson, 2011.Beliefs: You may be wondering what the heck a working physicist believes in. Aren't we all basically evil madmen with bad hair and glazed eyes? Well . . . yes. Is there a problem with that?

Oh, so you want to know what I think about the existence of God, the creation/evolution muddle, the possibility of miracles, yada, yada. OK, that's fair. I'll tell you, but you'll have to pay. Pay for my books, that is. A guy's gotta pay the rent, and I'm a book guy. Here is a little info about each of my books:

The cover of the book Who Wrote the Bible Code, by Randy Ingermanson.My first nonfiction book, Who Wrote The Bible Code? came out in July, 1999. The basic idea was that a Christian physicist investigates the Bible code, brilliantly solves the question, and reports his results. Well ... that was the intent, anyway. This book was great fun, and my math-phobic editor even understood it, so there's a good chance you will too. The publisher was WaterBrook Press, a Christian subsidiary of Random House. 

The cover of the novel Transgression, by Randy Ingermanson.My first novel, Transgression was published in March, 2000. A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the apostle Paul. A disclaimer: I doubt very much that backwards time travel is physically possible, although it was for quite a while an active area of research by a fair number of general relativists who aren't kooks. So consider the time travel element just a fun "What if?" starting point. 

The cover of the novel Premonition, by Randy Ingermanson.Premonition picks up the story where Transgression left off. James, the leader of the Christian community in Jerusalem, is about to be murdered by the corrupt high priest. Only one person knows it -- Rivka Meyers, our time-traveling heroine from the far future. But poor Rivka is having a hard time explaining where she gets her "premonitions" of future events. And furthermore, she's always just a little bit off in her predictions, so nobody believes her. 

The cover of the novel Retribution, by Randy Ingermanson.Retribution is the sequel to Premonition. Jerusalem, city of God, staggers under the whip of a series of brutal Roman governors. The city cries out to God for relief, and men of violence arise to take vengeance on Rome. Our heroine, Rivka, slowly learns to listen to God and her husband Ari wrestles with his conscience. Something horrible is coming to Jerusalem, something long prophesied . . . retribution. 

The cover of the novel Oxygen, by John B. Olson and Randy Ingermanson.Oxygen hit the bookstores in May 2001. Four astronauts on the first human mission to Mars have an accident which leaves them with barely enough oxygen for one of them to reach the Red Planet. I wrote this book with a co-author, a biochemist friend of mine by the name of John Olson. 

The cover of the novel The Fifth Man, by John B. Olson and Randy Ingermanson.The Fifth Man is a sequel to Oxygen, and came out in October 2002. Four astronauts discover life on Mars . . . and are stalked by an intelligent entity. John Olson was again my co-author on this book.
The cover of the novel Double Vision, by Randy Ingermanson.Double Vision is a romantic suspense novel. The leading man, Dillon Richard, is a brilliant engineer with Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. Dillon's never had a girlfriend before. Now he's got two leading candidates . . . Rachel Meyers, girl genius biophysicist, is as free-spirited and loosey-goosey as Dillon is uptight and rigid. Keryn Wills, the company chief financial officer, is a mystery novelist who's got her eye on Dillon and who might have a chance -- if only Rachel weren't working with him on a secret quantum computing project that could break the standard encryption schemes. And oh yeah, it could also plunge the world's financial institutions into chaos. Somebody Bad seems to know they're developing this new toy, and all of a sudden, Rachel, Keryn, and Dillon don't have time for a silly love triangle, because somebody is trying really hard to kill them. 

The cover of the book Writing Fiction for Dummies, by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy..My latest nonfiction book is Writing Fiction For Dummies. The publisher for the "Dummies" series asked me to write this book because they wanted something that covered every aspect of writing fiction and they saw that I had a major reputation in teaching how to write fiction. That's partly due to the fact that I'm known all around the world as "the Snowflake Guy" in honor of my wildly popular Snowflake method of designing a novel. But I also publish the enormously popular Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, a free monthly electronic magazine on fiction writing. I'm also in quite a lot of demand to teach at writing conferences, and I get more requests to speak every year than I can handle.

Even more book ideas are on the way, but you'll have to wait for info on those. In the meantime, buy lots of my books and tell your friends how much you liked them. If you don't like my books, lie. It's also permissible to just buy copies and burn them in an environmentally responsible manner. Please do this in front of the CNN cameras, and make sure you point out how dangerous my ideas are. Glaze your eyes a bit and look really angry when you do this. If you can get your local library to actually BAN my books, go for it! A good book-banning is by far the best free advertising around. Sorry, I can't pay any kind of fee for this service, but I will send you a sincere letter of appreciation.

Randy IngermansonWriting Awards: I somehow won Writer of the Year in March of 1999 at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I don't know what kind of hallucinogenic chemical got put in the faculty's drinking water before they voted on that one, but I'm grateful to whoever did it.

Continuing the bizarre trend in my life for winning awards, in the spring of 2000, my first book, Who Wrote the Bible Code?, won "Best Book Published in 1999" by the estimable folks who run the San Diego Christian Writers' Guild. You have to be a member of the Guild to win this award, which may explain why I won it rather than Stephen King or Tom Clancy. Sorry, Steve and Tom, life isn't always fair. Join the Guild and try again next year if you want the doggone award. And try to make a deal with those drug people.

Even more surprisingly, my first novel, Transgression, won a Christy Award in Futuristic Fiction in the summer of 2001. This was quite a shock to me and the rest of the known universe. My book was up against the book Eli, by Bill Myers -- a writer I admire very much -- and also against The Mark, by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye. The Mark was the #2 best-selling hardcover novel in the US in 2000 (behind a Grisham and ahead of a Clancy). Frankly, I was thrilled just to be in the same paragraph as these guys. But winning??? Yikes! It made me wonder just who was passing around those hallucinogens so freely.

Incredibly, the psychedelics continued to flow during the year 2002. My second novel, Oxygen, also won a Christy Award in Futuristic Fiction. Some have suggested that this award thing is becoming a very bad habit for me, and I can hardly disagree. My coauthor John Olson and I are very concerned about the obvious drug problems on these awards panels and plan to launch an investigation using seasoned investigators from the well-known and highly respected accounting firm Arthur Andersen. I feel sure we'll quickly get to the bottom of this scandal. Oxygen also won a Silver Angel Award, was named to the New York Public Library's very prestigious list Books for the Teen Age, and won a bronze medal in ForeWord Magazine's science fiction category for best books of the year by independent publishers. And it also won a local award from the San Diego Book Awards Association for Best Suspense Novel of the Year (by a San Diego author, of course). If you are guessing that this ridiculous number of awards has caused severe swelling around the head, then you are guessing pretty right. However, I still have my kids around to remind me that I'm basically an idiot, so the danger may be less than it seems.

I am grateful to say that The Fifth Man did not win a Christy Award in the summer of 2003. Had I won, we would have had to buy a larger wheelbarrow to drag around my excessively expanded head. My friend Nancy Moser won it instead for her very fine novel Time Lottery. Waytogo, Nancy! I can get you a good deal on a wheelbarrow, especially if you'll tell me . . . just who is your drug connection?

Premonition won another of those handy-dandy local awards from the San Diego Book Awards Association in the Historical Fiction category. Premonition also won a Book of the Year award from the American Christian Romance Writers in the "Long Historical Novel" category. ACRW has recently changed its name to American Christian Fiction Writers and is rapidly becoming a major force in Christian fiction.

I was delighted when Retribution was named a finalist for a Christy Award in the Historical Fiction category, and it also won a Book of the Year award from the American Christian Fiction Writers. Of all my books, Retribution is my favorite.

Double Vision also won an award, Best Mystery/Suspense Novel from the San Diego Book Awards Association.

That's all for now. Only recycled electrons were used in this transmission. And for you Star Wars fans, absolutely no Bothans died to obtain this information. Cheerio!