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Jim Ottaviani has written professionally for comics for over 10 years. Starting as a reviewer and interviewer for trade magazines, he moved to the other side of the creative fence in 1997 with the publication of Two-Fisted Science. That first trade paperback, focused on physicists, won a Xeric Grant and was an Eisner nominee. His second book, Dignifying Science (stories about women scientists), earned him another Eisner nomination and was one ALA's Best Books for Young Adults in 2001.
Fallout: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the Political Science of the Atomic Bomb appeared next. In 2003 it was a one of Entertainment Weekly’s "Must Read" graphic novel, a Booklist’s Top 10, and an Eisner and Ignatz Award nominee.
Jim’s first career was as nuclear engineer—that’s where all this science comes from! He currently works as a librarian at the University of Michigan—that’s where all the esoteric resources come from. In addition to answering reference questions, looking things up, and writing comics, Jim also talks about them at venues ranging from conferences in California to libraries in Michigan to the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.From Booklist:
When more daring nonfiction graphic novels are made, Ottaviani and G. T. Labs will make them. If this biography of the Danish physicist, whom colleagues referred to as "the pope," isn't as adventurously designed as Fallout (2001), Ottaviani and company's book on J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the Manhattan Project, it is just as--maybe more--ambitious. Ottaviani, who writes the text and recruits artist-collaborators, aims to inculcate the basics of quantum physics as he tells Bohr's life story. Leland Purvis, artist for the main text, responds to Ottaviani's intentions by switching, as needed, between realism and fantasy (e.g., huge Bohr and huge Einstein astride different planets while arguing quantum theory). The partnership operates near perfectly, and only the unexplained Greek letters in equations (p we know, but D and l?) give nonmathematicians, at least, pause--but don't impede understanding. In the endnotes Ottaviani and several different artists limn instructive anecdotes about early physics, relay Bohr apocrypha, and create a series of comic strips about taciturn French physicist Paul Dirac--all pretty priceless. Ray Olson
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