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Who I Am

David and granddaughter Emily
Granddaughter Emily and I on a visit to Kennedy Space Center in 2008

I'm a British astronomer and science writer, currently living in Dundee, Scotland, with my American wife Jill. Our daughter, Lori-An, has a Ph.D. in neuropharmacology and is doing post-doc research at Dundee University; our son Jeff lives in the Valencia region of Spain and runs an exciting website on transport design and art (www.diseno-art.com).

I was born in Glossop, Derbyshire, England, on July 29, 1953, and grew up in the beautiful Peak District, close to Kinder Scout for those who know the area. I went to New Mills Grammar School and then on to Sheffield University, where I earned my B.Sc. in physics in 1974, and Manchester University, for my Ph.D. in astronomy in 1977, while Zdenek Kopal was the department head.

Around the time I left Manchester I met my future wife and decided to move to the States. I served as manager of applications software for the supercomputer company Cray Research in Minneapolis for several years, and it was during this time that our two children were born. While at Cray I wrote in my spare time for Astronomy magazine and, in 1982, decided to take the plunge into full-time freelance writing. That's been my occupation ever since, interspersed with lectures, school talks, and travel. We moved back to England (Cumbria) around the time of my career change, spent the next 16 years here, returned to the US in 1999, and reemigrated again to the UK in 2004.

My first books – a 10-volume children's series called Discovering Our Universe – were published in 1984-85. In 1989, I wrote my first adult popular science book, Deep Time (Delacorte). This was followed by Equations of Eternity (Hyperion, 1993), Soul Search (Villard, 1995), Zen Physics (Harper Collins, 1996), The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia (Random House, 2000), Life Everywhere: The Maverick Science of Astrobiology (Basic Books, 2001), The Complete Book of Spaceflight (John Wiley, 2002), The Universal Book of Astronomy (Wiley, 2003), The Universal Book of Mathematics (Wiley, 2004), Teleportation: The Impossible Leap (Wiley, 2005), Gravity's Arc: The Story of Gravity from Aristotle to Einstein and Beyond (Wiley, 2006), We Are Not Alone (co-authored with Dirk Schulze-Makuch, OneWorld, 2012), Megacatastrophes! Nine Strange Ways the World Could End (co-authored with Dirk Schulze-Makuch, OneWorld, 2012), and The Rocket Man (OneWorld, 2013). My other books are the children's series The World of Computers (6 volumes, 1986), Could You Ever (6 volumes, 1990-91), Experiment! (6 volumes, 1991-92), and Beyond 2000 (4 volumes, 1995). My articles and reviews have appeared in Astronomy, Omni, Penthouse, New Scientist, The New York Times, and The Guardian, among others. I'm lucky enough to have a great literary agent in Patricia Van der Leun, Van der Leun & Associates, New York.

I've also run this website, The Worlds of David Darling, since 1999. It's grown now to more than 16,000 pages and includes The Internet Encyclopedia of Science and The Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living. Plus you'll find lots of news on all aspects of science, a children's encyclopedia of astronomy, on-line versions of some of my books, and a forum.

My interests, apart from my work and family, include singing, song-writing, and playing guitar, walking, and travel.