Catherine Asaro was born in Oakland, California, and grew up in El Cerrito, just north of Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. in chemical physics and M.A. in physics, both from Harvard, and a B.S. with Highest Honors in chemistry from UCLA. Among the places she has done research are the University of Toronto in Canada, the Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik in Germany, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Her research involves using quantum theory to describe the behavior of atoms and molecules. Catherine was a physics professor until 1990, when she established Molecudyne Research, which she currently runs.
A former ballerina, Catherine has performed with ballets and in musicals on both coasts and in Ohio. In the 1980s she was a principal dancer and artistic director of the Mainly Jazz Dancers and the Harvard University Ballet. After she graduated, her undergraduate students took over Mainly Jazz and made it into an organization at the college. Catherine still teaches ballet in Maryland.
Catherine's fiction is a successful blend of hard science fiction, romance and exciting space adventure. She has published nine novels, seven of which belong to her Saga of the Skolian Empire. Catherine has been nominated for many awards. Among those she's won are the Nebula Award for best novel of 2001 for The Quantum Rose and the Romantic Times Award for Best SF Novel for both Spherical Harmonic and Ascendant Sun.
Her husband is John Kendall Cannizzo, an astrophysicist at NASA. They have one daughter, a young ballet dancer who loves math.