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David H. Grinspoon (1959-) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

Born 1959, in Boston, MA; Education: Brown University, Sc.B. (planetary science), 1982, B.A. (philosophy of science), 1982; postgraduate work at University of Arizona, 1989. Religion: "Cosmist." Hobbies and other interests: Performing rock music.


Office—Funky Science, 1836 Blake St., Suite 100A, Denver, CO 80211. Agent—Tina Bennett, Janklow & Nesbit, 445 Park Ave., New York, NY 10022.


NASA/Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA, postdoctoral research associate, 1989-91; University of Colorado, Boulder, assistant professor, 1991-99, adjunct professor, 2000—; Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO, planetary scientist, beginning 2000.


American Astronomical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Authors Guild, Authors League.

Honors Awards

Los Angeles Times Book Prize, 1998, for Venus Revealed; Gerard Kuiper Memorial Award for outstanding scholarship, University of Arizona, 1, 1989.


Venus Revealed: A New Look below the Clouds of Our Mysterious Twin Planet, Addison-Wesley Pub. (Reading, MA), 1997.

(With Mikhail Iakovlevich Marov) The Planet Venus, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1998.

Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life, Ecco Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to periodicals, including Scientific American, New York Times, Boston Globe, Astronomy, and Slate.


Planetary scientist and educator David H. Grinspoon is the author of Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life, a book referred to by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as "an up-to-date picture of the search for extraterrestrial life and the prospects of finding it in a universe that we now know contains other solar systems." The well-organized book begins with a recap of astronomical and social history that extends back nearly four centuries. Grinspoon discusses hypotheses about far-off worlds and the possibility that other forms of life exist in the solar system. He then continues on with a discussion of more modern topics, including updates regarding the knowledge gained through recent scientific discoveries. Noting that the author "comes across like a buddy in a bar, trying out ideas over a beer or few," Booklist contributor Frieda Murray added that Grin-spoon "seasons the discussion with witty anecdotes, personal experiences … and reminders of what has been demonstrated and what is still theoretical fun to read." Reviewing Lonely Planets for Astronomy, Glenn Muller added that Grinspoon's relaxed approach to a technical subject makes his book particularly accessible to "young people contemplating an astrobiology career," who "will sense Grinspoon's delight (and sometimes repulsion) and his realization that he still has much to learn."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Astronomy March, 2004, Glenn Muller, "Are We Alone? Perhaps Not.," p. 96.

Booklist, November 1, 2003, Frieda Murray, review of Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life, p. 466.

Entertainment Weekly, November 14, 2003, Wook Kim, review of Lonely Planets, p. 134.

Publishers Weekly, October 27, 2003, review of Lonely Planets, p. 56.

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