Love and Blogging

By Sean Carroll | November 17, 2006 12:32 pm

Peter Pan should have been a cosmologist. I mean, if you want to stay forever young, nothing puts things in perspective like contemplating our place in a fourteen-billion-year-old universe. You tend to take a long view of things.

But eventually, one must grow up and start acting like an adult. Did you realize, for example, that many grownups participate in an institution known as “marriage,” which apparently involves tying your entire future history (and let’s be clear about this — I fully expect to be immortal) to that of another person? Someone, obviously, who you better like an awful lot. And who better be able to put up with you. Trust me, you really don’t want to interact with me before I’ve had my coffee in the morning.

How in the world is one expected to find such a person, in a world full of interesting but flawed characters? Well, there’s always the blogosphere. Two kindred spirits, tapping away at their matching MacBook Pros, could find each other across thousands of miles in a way that was heretofore impossible.

All of which, in a fumbling and hopefully-charming way, is to say that it’s happened. I’ve fallen hopelessly for the beautiful and talented Jennifer Ouellette, science writer extraordinaire and proprietess of Cocktail Party Physics. I first plugged her blog (completely innocently! honestly!) back in March, and we met in person at an APS meeting, of all places. Best conference ever.

And, various cross-country jaunts and countless emails later, we’re engaged to be married. If it’s clear that you’ve found the perfect person with whom you want nothing more than to spend the rest of your life, you might was well get the presents, right?

Expressions of astonishment that I could have done so well by myself, and wonderings aloud concerning what in the world Jennifer must be thinking, may be left in the comment section. You needn’t tell me how fortunate I am — I know.

  • Lee Kottner

    Many, many congrats, Sean! You’ve definitely found a great person. I hope you’re both deleriously happy together. Cheers!

  • Allyson

    So exciting! Many many congrats! And exclamation points!

  • Rob Knop


    I love it that your courtship sort of started up in e-mail. Although my wife and I met in person first, some stage of our courtship was sort of in e-mail (in that we’d see each other about once a week at church, but would e-mail back and forth a fair amount in between that).

    …and people say that the Internet is distancing us from each other, destroying personal relationships and human interaction. Foo! It’s an enabler!


  • coturnix


    A Match Made In … Blogosphere!

  • graviton383

    Sean, all the best!!!

    PS..good to see you last week..excellent talk!

  • Melquiades

    Congratulations Sean. You sound very happy. That is always good.

  • N. Peter Armitage

    This is incredible! I can’t believe you waited until this fall to tell us who won the Ultimate Showdown even though there was a winner back in April.

    >Two kindred spirits, tapping away at their matching MacBook Pros, could find each
    >other across thousands of miles in a way that was heretofore impossible.

    Congrats to you both!

  • Sarah Hansen

    Congratulations! I’m happy for you both :)

  • Sam Gralla

    Aww, Sean, Congrats :)

  • Shakespeare’s Sister

    Congratulations! This duo who also found each other across thousands of miles (and an ocean) in a way that was heretofore impossible wishes you all the best. ~ Shakes and Mr. Shakes

  • B. Field

    Congratulations to the both of you!!

  • A.J.


  • macho


  • Paul the Spud

    Congratulations! *toasts* The best of everything to you both!

  • PPCook

    Very many congratulations to you both!!!

  • Aaron Bergman


  • Eugene

    Woo! Woo!

    Congratulations Sean!!!

  • Allyson

    Hm. I wonder if we’re all invited to the wedding. And if they’ll have an open bar.

  • Nicholas



  • Tara


  • Moshe

    Congratulations Sean!

  • Tom Renbarger

    Congrats on the engagement, Sean!

  • Plato

    Yes, all the best to you both.

  • Abel Pharmboy

    Heartiest congratulations to you both!

    Like Rob Knop and his wife, the PharmGirl and I met briefly in the meat-world but then also courted extensively via e-mail; when that’s all you have, it’s amazing how much you learn about one another. We finally bridged the geography and just celebrated six years of marriage.

    Wishing you both all the happiness in the world!

  • Joseph Smidt

    Congratulations, I wish the both of you the best.

  • Daniel Robbins

    Congratulations, Sean!

  • subodh

    congratulations sean!

  • Navneeth

    Hearty congratulations!!!

  • Arun M

    Congratulations !!!

  • Quasar9

    Or was it written in the stars
    you know
    since the beginning of Time!

    Sean, all the best to you both!


  • Quasar9

    I can see a book there
    “They met in blogosphere …”
    love and love of cosmology & science

  • Katey

    You ended up being mentioned in Sciam!


  • dileffante

    Felicidades! Wishing the best for both of you (and Jen-Luc, of course).

  • ed hessler

    What is this thing called love? Who knows except for those who love, fall in love and follow where it leads. Thanks for telling us this good news and best wishes. Congratulations to both of you.

  • Phil Plait, aka The Bad Astronomer


  • Scott H.

    Many congrats, Sean! I must echo what Rob Knop said above, since my wife and I would never have gotten together if we didn’t have email during the first year — dating, but on opposite coasts. It’s a uniter, not a divider! (sorry…)

  • Urbano

    First of all, congrats for you both!!!

    On Wednesday, after I’d finished my blogging duties at the Industrial Physics Forum in San Francisco, we drove to his new home in Los Angeles via the “scenic route” along the coast. […]he put his arms around me and whispered, “Wouldn’t it be fascinating to take a Fourier transform of those waves?”

    OK, the South is much better anyway: you could not do that in Chicago 😉

  • Brian

    Peter Pan should have been a cosmetologist. I mean, if you want to stay forever young…

    Hearty congratulations to both of you.

  • citrine


    Sean, this is *really* strange, but I have to say something now. A few months ago, I followed a link on one of your blogs to Jennifer’s blog. I read a little of her writings, saw her photo, and a random thought popped into my head: this woman seems perfect for Sean. Of course you don’t know me, but please take my word when I say that I’m NOT one of those matchmaker types, acting as a catalyst for pair bonds. From time to time I have come across links from CV posts to Jennifer’s blog and this same thought kept popping into my head. Well, my gut instinct was right on the mark!!

  • Lauren


    Jennifer may have stolen my secret blog crush, but no hard feelings. 😉

    We must have pictures of the wedding.

  • JoAnne

    Congrats Sean! Jennifer is absolutely GREAT, but then, I’m not saying anything you don’t know.

    PS: Didn’t know that you actually bought that bag of plagues!

  • Luis Sanchez

    Congratulation Sean! By the way this his might be one the first weddings in the science blogosphere! I hope we are all invited to the wedding 😉

  • jay

    Great news, Sean. Many congratulations!!!
    But still, “no time for blogging” will not be an excuse. 😉

  • Pyracantha

    Immortal? Really?
    I hope that Jennifer will be too!
    Congratulations Sean and Jennifer!

  • Manas Shaikh

    Many congratulations.

  • Jeff

    Vive le sposi! Congrats Sean

  • Abi

    From a fan of both your blogs: Hearty Congratulations!

  • Aaron

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH CONGRATS! I hope whoever’s performing the service won’t be too put off when she sees the crowd packed with physicists tapping away on their laptops… :)

  • Ron Avitzur

    Congratulations to you both!

  • glenn


  • abhishek

    congrats sean!

  • Yan

    祝福你们!Many congratulations to both of you!

  • chapieau

    Congratulazioni e Auguri !

    From a faithful italian reader.

  • Moran

    I thought Sean was gay!!!!!

  • Fermi-Walker Public Transport

    Congratulations to you both.
    The total happiness of the world just went up a bit which is always most welcomed.

  • adam

    Good luck, old stick. Marriage is pretty cool.

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  • http:/// Chris Clarke

    Such happy news! Congratulations to both of you.

  • Sean

    Thanks to everybody for the congratulations! To answer some implicit and explicit questions:

    1. We will be sharing the bag of plagues.

    2. Secret blog crushes on one or both parties are still permitted.

    3. Everyone is invited to the wedding! Which will be live-blogged from start to finish, including by the bride and groom!

    Okay, that last point isn’t true. But perhaps there will be a picture or two.

  • Dimitri Terryn

    Congratulations to you both!

  • spyder

    Sharing the coveting of plagues seems about as good a reason as any to get married i suppose. Congratulations for the Solomonic wisdom. And while i personally am not one keen on the whole state-sanctioning of licensing contractual arrangements for the private lives of two individuals, i simply must ask about the location dilemma. I have to say i like what my own ex-wife #4 (hence my reticence to the institution at this point) chose to do with her recent state of matrimony. When i asked if she was packing up and moving, she said “Hell no!” The two of them, quite happily married after years of courtship and relating (he had the charm and sophistication to ask me if he could actually go out with her in the beginning [i couldn’t have cared less]), live in their own private homes fifty miles from one another. They seem to be very happy, and my children and grandchildren report good tiding. So are you bi-coastaling for a while???

  • Julianne

    So I assume you’re going to have a big church wedding?

  • Jennifer Ouellette

    Okay, I can field the last two comments. First, Ix-nay on the Big Church Wedding, as regular CV readers no doubt expected. :) It will be a decidedly non-deity-invoking ceremony.

    Second, we’ve been doing the bicoastal thing, and it works pretty well, in the short-term. We’re communucators! :) That certainly helps. And I know several couples with “long-distance” relationships who have been very happy that way. But long-term, I’d really prefer to be in the same city/household as Sean. I LIKE Sean and enjoy spending time with him. (If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have agreed to marry him.) Ergo, I’ll be relocating to Los Angeles in the next several months.

    We’re fortunate in that we don’t have to struggle with the infamous “two body” problem: I’m self-employed and work from home, so it’s far easier for me to relocate, since I can do most of my work from anywhere. So, even though it’s a major change, and I might have to do some negotiating here and there, it’s not a major sacrifice, career-wise.

    Besides, there’s that bag of plagues to consider… who wouldn’t move across the country for that?

  • Belizean


    With yet another science blogger moving to California, it looks like the golden state is rapidly becoming the center of the science-blog universe.

  • m

    Hi Sean

    Take a look at these two videos:

    It is horrible seeing that in the library of UCLA a student is teased repeatedly by a police officer. Thanks to You Tube and celephone cameras.

  • Trip Russell


  • m

    The original video is in youtube

  • Matt

    Congratulations to you both. You managed to find each other at the April APS meeting despite the frighteningly large number of teenage volleyball players there at the time 😉 !

  • Andreas

    Congratulations Sean! I wish you an eternity of happiness :)

  • CapitalistImperialistPig

    Congratulations and best wishes for you both.

  • beepbeepitsme

    Congratulaions and all the best for your combined futures. :)

  • PK

    Congratulations, and hurrah for the internet!

  • cynic

    How lovely. Even my hard heart is warmed by this delightful news.

  • Arun

    Congratulations to the two of you, and best wishes!


    Q: how does one Fourier transform the double-valued function that is the outline of a breaking wave?

  • nc

    Congratulations and good luck!

    Arun – if you mean the specific case of the Fourier series, you can’t take use a Fourier series (a sum of sine and/or sine waves) to model a breaking wave. It is possible to find a Fourier series to give almost anything approximately (including saw tooth wave forms and square waves), but not a breaking wave!

  • nc

    (meant “and/or cosine waves”)

  • B

    Wow :-))) CONGRATULATIONS to both of you!

  • Joe Fitzsimons

    Congratulations to both of you! I hope the two of you are very happy together, and I wish you all the best for your shared future.

    I was tempted to insert an entanglement joke, but I guess that would just lower the tone of the whole comment section.

  • Robin Varghese

    Sean, that piece and Jennifers over a Cocktail Party Physics were beautiful. Congratulations to both of you.

    Robin (3QD)

  • Chaz

    Congrats! Are your families bugging you about kids yet?

  • arturo


  • Count Iblis


    3. Everyone is invited to the wedding! Which will be live-blogged from start to finish, including by the bride and groom!

    Okay, that last point isn’t true. But perhaps there will be a picture or two

    Ok then, only the regular CV posters are invited :)

  • Robert McNees

    I don’t want to sound like I own marriage or anything, but I tied the knot a month ago. So clearly you are copying me.


  • Jim Chisholm

    Hey, congratulations!

  • Happy Feet

    It takes a lot more than liking to be in for the long run…and way more than enjoying each other’s company…but given that it is Sean, I have confidence that he knows what he is doing…the world probably needs some little Sean Carrolls running around…And LA and Tech are the best playgrounds for young minds and their parents…
    This is definitely Sean Carroll’s year. First he escaped a terrible place and was sheltered in the best place on earth. Then he got Feynman’s desk. Then those supernova things got him excited to the point that he decided to get married…
    Journey happily on…

  • Tim D

    Big congrats, Sean!

  • Mark Srednicki


  • ros

    Great news! Congratulations and all good wishes to you both.

  • Jennie

    Hooray Sean! Congrats to you and Jennifer! I’m a bit envious because I wanted the bag of plagues. :) One learns a lot from one’s advisor — perhaps I should mention my plush burnt loaf of bread in my future dates?

  • Nancy

    Hey, congratulations! My husband and I also met in 1994 here in the invisible raum, which could back then, have passed for a secret room inside our imaginations. For several months we wrote back and forth across the Atlantic and out of a question-asked, a question-answered grew a warm, romantic friendship. A year later, I quit my job, packed my big ole hounddog, and 10 boxes of books and moved from the Midwest to Stuttgart, Germany.

    In the midst of all that chaos and adventure it was really just a short step to falling deeply in love. We celebrated our 10th anniversary last April, and wish you both the happiness we have found.

  • Peri Lyons

    Hi there!
    I may be a wee bit prejudiced, as your intended has been my closest female friend since, oh, pretty much the dawn of time [a dangerous phrase to use around a cosmologist, but hey-I live for adventure]-but Jen is the most talented, lovely, kind, brilliant, loyal and generally GOOD person I know. (Except my mom, and she’s taken, fellas.) I have never seen her more radiantly happy.
    Long may you both wave.
    Big congrats

  • Gail McPhaden

    Being Sean’s Mom has been an indescribably wonderful experience and I am now thrilled that Jennifer will join our family. Sean and Jennifer, you are wonderful people and I know you will make each other very happy (therefore me, too). Love, Mom

  • Jonathan Vos Post


    My wife is a full-time Physics professor. I’ve been an adjunct Astronomy Professor.

    We met at a Science Fiction convention, on a continent other than the one where eaither of us had been born or brought up.

    Yesterday, 14 Feb 2007, we celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.

    We still do research, even sometimes together.

    We’ve managed to publish (a lot), raise a son (who’s about to get his double B.S. at age 18).

    It can all be done.

    It isn’t easy, but it is worth doing.

    Best of luck to you both.

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  • Leo

    First of all, sorry for my english.

    …reminds me of… Well, my wife and I met at a FirstClass BBS (an old-style one, not internet-based until later), and spent months knowing each other by public forum messages and by private mailing before we met in person. No pics sent. No real-time chatting. Lots of literature, cinema, theatre, and trivial issues discussed, debated and chewed between us (in Geneva, 10 or 12 pt. text), just workin’ to know each other better each day.
    When we first met in person we were already in love. 10 years and a few days have passed since. A lovely daughter expanded our family. We’re still in love as we were a decade ago, and this lovely dream still continues.
    Happiness does exist. We bear witness to that. And we’re glad you decided to join the club of the “happily married”. Perhaps it’s not an overcrowded one, heh, but it’s lovely, and especially when served –and when given the chance to serve– breakfast in bed.
    Yeah, online communication is cold, yeah, yeah.
    Go figure.

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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] .


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