I write novels featuring Edwina Goodman, a fictional professor of physics. In the first book, she gets drawn into a murder investigation at the college where she teaches – Cushing College – based heavily on Dartmouth, by the way. By the second book, she has started dating Will Tenney, a handsome, young police detective, and from then on, her fate as an amateur sleuth (and sidekick) is sealed. It turns out that her particular skill set (brilliant mind; ferocious curiosity + imagination; etc.) brings a lot to the table of detective work.
If you think of the universe as a gigantic garden, physicists are the ones with their hands in the dirt, the ones who are digging up worms and wormholes and finding all sorts of amazing stuff buried out there. Discoveries happen every day.
We all have a life drive and a death drive. That’s just the way we’re made. The life drive wants to make order out of chaos. That’s where the appeal of writing comes in for me.
Don’t forget: even the god of spring doesn’t know where flowers come from. It’s a mystery.
Physicists are on a parallel quest with poets, philosophers, painters, and writers, et. al., when it comes to trying to describe the nature of this life of ours. Physics uses the language of mathematics to describe the universe, so everything, theoretically is quantifiable -- even invisible stuff, like dark matter.
A very appealing construct, don’t you think?
I have what you might call a crush on physics, which is why I made Edwina a physicist. And not only is she a physicist, she is a theoretical physicist. Why, you may ask, does my heart skip a beat, and why do my knees go all wobbly, when it comes to physics? Because to me, physics is the ultimate arbiter of reality, itself. For instance, physicists figured out that heavy elements like carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen that make up the atoms in our bodies, came from old stars that bit the dust about four and half billion years ago – and their remains dribbled down here to Earth. That’s real poetry, if you ask me.
Elissa Grodin is a member of :
Sisters In Crime, The Crime Writers Association,
Mystery Writers of America & The Authors Guild