Jennifer Coopersmith was born in 1955 in Cape Town, South Africa. The family emigrated to England in 1958, travelling on the Union Castle line. They settled in London (for a while, Jennifer stayed with ‘Granny Belgium’ in Aywaille). She later attended Haberdashers’ Aske’s School in Acton, London, and obtained a BSc and a PhD in physics from King’s College, University of London.
Jennifer was a research associate at the University of British Columbia, working at the Tri-University Meson Facility (TRIUMF) during 1981-2. She finished her PhD in 1983, travelled in India and Nepal in the beginning of 1984, and subsequently worked as a computer programmer at Logica SDS in London, 1984-5 (on the award-winning project for HM Coastguards’ Search & Rescue).
There followed a period of part-time tutoring combined with motherhood (children born in 1986, 1989 and 1995), working at Kingston Polytechnic, Kingston College of Further education (1986-7) and then the Open University, 1987-96, teaching S102, S354 and S281 variously at Reading, London, Winchester and Oxford.
In 1997, Jennifer and family left Divinity Road, Oxford and moved to Bendigo, Australia, where they had a ‘hobby farm’ with a cat, dog, goat, hens and two Shetland ponies (by comparison with horses, the ponies made the estate look bigger), and many kangaroos. She taught part-time at La Trobe University in Bendigo and Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne (marking assignments on ‘The Measurement of G’ and ‘Is there a cosmic asymmetry between matter and antimatter?’).
In 2010 Jennifer published “Energy, the Subtle Concept: the discovery of Feynman’s blocks, from Leibniz to Einstein”, Oxford University Press, and then the paperback edition came out in 2015. The book is a semi-popular account of how Energy came into physics. She has just published her second book for the OUP, “The Lazy Universe: an introduction to the Principle of Least Action”, 2017. The book is not a textbook but has more mathematics in it than her previous book – so it could be considered as semi-semi-popular. Hoping this trend (in reduced popularity) does not continue, Jennifer’s third book is currently under way.
In 2015 Jennifer changed countries for the sixth time – she and her husband now live in France.