Clifford A. Pickover - Biographical Sketch

Some Media Attention for Pickover

"Pickover has published nearly a book a year in which he stretches the limits of computers, art, and thought." -- Los Angeles Times

"Pickover inspires a new generation of da Vincis to build unknown flying machines and create new Mona Lisas." -- Christian Science Monitor

"A shocking, fascinating stroll through an infinite idea zoo." -- WIRED

"Pickover is van Leeuwenhoek's 20th century equivalent." -- OMNI

"A dazzling survey of chaos theory embedded in amusing science fiction." -- The Washington Post

"Run, leap, scurry and scoot to your nearest bookstore and get Pickover's books. Every now and then, a book comes along that reminds us what computers are all about -- not spreadsheets and databases, but expansion of the mind and soul." -- BYTE

"Clifford Pickover is many things -- scientist, scholar, author, editor, and visionary..." -- GAMES

"Bucky Fuller thought big, Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both." -- WIRED

"Pickover just seems to exist in more dimensions than the rest of us." -- Ian Stewart, Scientific American

"A perpetual idea machine, Clifford Pickover is one of the most creative, original thinkers in the world today." -- Journal of Recreational Mathematics

"Add two doses of Isaac Asimov, and one dose each of Martin Gardner and Carl Sagan, and you get Clifford Pickover, one of the most entertaining and thought provoking writers of our time." -- Michael Shermer, Editor-in-Chief of Skeptic

"Clifford A. Pickover is the heir apparent to Carl Sagan..." -- Robert J. Sawyer, author of Calculating God

"In recent years, Pickover has taken up the helm once worn by Isaac Asimov as the most compelling popular explainer of cutting-edge scientific ideas." -- In Pittsburgh

Biographical Sketch

Clifford A. Pickover received his Ph.D. from Yale University's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. He graduated first in his class from Franklin and Marshall College, after completing the four-year undergraduate program in three years. His many books have been translated into Italian, French, Greek, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Serbian, Romanian, Polish, and more.

He is author of the popular books: The Physics Book (Sterling, 2011), Jews in Hyperspace (Kindle edition, 2010), The Math Book (Sterling, 2009), Archimedes to Hawking (Oxford, 2008), The Heaven Virus (Lulu, 2007), A Beginner's Guide to Immortality (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2007), The Möbius Strip (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2006), Sex, Drugs, Einstein and Elves (Smart Publications, 2005), A Passion for Mathematics (Wiley, 2005), Calculus and Pizza (Wiley, 2003), The Mathematics of Oz (Cambridge Univeristy Press, 2002), The Zen of Magic Squares, Circles, and Stars (Princeton Univeristy Press, 2002), The Paradox of God and the Science of Omniscience (Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, 2001), Dreaming the Future (Prometheus, 2001), The Stars of Heaven (Oxford University Press, 2001), Wonders of Numbers: Adventures in Math, Mind, and Meaning (Oxford University Press, 2000), The Girl Who Gave Birth To Rabbits: A True Medical Mystery (Prometheus, 2000), Cryptorunes: Codes and Secret Writing (Pomeranate, 2000), Surfing Through Hyperspace (Oxford University Press, 1998), The Science of Aliens (Basic Books, 1998), Time: A Traveler's Guide (Oxford University Press, 1998), Strange Brains and Genius: The Secret Lives of Eccentric Scientists and Madmen (Plenum, 1998), The Alien IQ Test (Basic Books, 1997), The Loom of God (Plenum, 1997), Black Holes - A Traveler's Guide (Wiley, 1996), and Keys to Infinity (Wiley, 1995). He is also author of numerous other highly-acclaimed books including Chaos in Wonderland: Visual Adventures in a Fractal World (1994), Mazes for the Mind: Computers and the Unexpected (1992), Computers and the Imagination (1991) and Computers, Pattern, Chaos, and Beauty (1990), all published by St. Martin's Press -- as well as the author of over 200 articles concerning topics in science, art, and mathematics. He is also coauthor, with Piers Anthony, of Spider Legs, a science-fiction novel once listed as Barnes and Noble's second best-selling science-fiction title.

For about 20 years, he was associate editor for the scientific journal Computers and Graphics. He is currently an editorial board member for Odyssey, Leonardo, and YLEM. He has been a guest editor for several scientific journals. He is editor of Chaos and Fractals: A Computer Graphical Journey. (Elsevier, 1998), The Pattern Book: Fractals, Art, and Nature (World Scientific, 1995), Visions of the Future: Art, Technology, and Computing in the Next Century (St. Martin's Press, 1993), Future Health (St. Martin's Press, 1995), Fractal Horizons (St. Martin's Press, 1996), and Visualizing Biological Information (World Scientific, 1995), and coeditor of the books Spiral Symmetry (World Scientific, 1992) and Frontiers in Scientific Visualization (Wiley, 1994).

Dr. Pickover's primary interest is finding new ways to continually expand creativity by melding art, science, mathematics, and other seemingly-disparate areas of human endeavor. His Neoreality and Heaven Virus book series explores the very fabric of reality and religion.

The Los Angeles Times recently wrote, "Pickover has published nearly a book a year in which he stretches the limits of computers, art and thought." Pickover received first prize in the Institute of Physics' "Beauty of Physics Photographic Competition". His computer graphics have been featured on the cover of many popular magazines, and his research has recently received considerable attention by the press -- including CNN's "Science and Technology Week", The Discovery Channel, Science News, The Washington Post, Wired, and The Christian Science Monitor -- and also in international exhibitions and museums. OMNI magazine recently described him as "Van Leeuwenhoek's twentieth century equivalent". Scientific American several times featured his graphic work, calling it "strange and beautiful, stunningly realistic". Wired magazine wrote, "Bucky Fuller thought big, Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both." Among his over 80 patents, Pickover has received U.S. Patent 5,095,302 for a 3-D computer mouse, 5,564,004 for strange computer icons, and 5,682,486 for black-hole transporter interfaces to computers.

Dr. Pickover is currently works at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, where he has received over 100 invention achievement awards, three research division awards, and four external honor awards. For much of his career, Pickover has published technical articles in the areas of scientific visualization, computer art, and recreational mathematics. Some novel areas of past focus have included: DNA vectorgram and tetragrams (a novel representation of sequence information), symmetrized dot patterns (a novel way of characterizing sounds), autocorrelation faces (a novel way of characterizing speech sounds), fossil seashell growth, biomorphs (biological forms created by mathematical feedback loops), simulated lava lamps, and phase vectorgrams (novel representations of sounds).

Dr. Pickover is also the Brain-Strain columnist for Odyssey magazine and the puzzle writer for Studyworks, and, for many years, he was the Brain-Boggler columnist for Discover magazine.

Dr. Pickover's hobbies include the practice of Ch'ang-Shih Tai-Chi Ch'uan and Shaolin Kung Fu, tropical fish, (large Amazonian fish), collecting African masks, and piano playing (mostly jazz). He is also a member of The SETI League, a group of signal processing enthusiasts who systematically search the sky for intelligent, extra-terrestrial life. He owns a 110-gallon aquarium filled with Lima shovelnose catfishes. These bizarre creatures resemble sharks with ultra-tiny, alien eyes. He advises readers to maintain a shovelnose tank in order to foster a sense of mystery in their lives. Look into the fish's eudaemonic eyes, dream of Elysian Fields, and soar.

Visit his web site, which has received over a million visits: He can be reached at P.O. Box 549, Millwood, New York 10546-0549 USA.

Return to Pickover's home page, which includes computer art, educational puzzles, fractals, virtual caverns, alien creatures, black hole artwork, and animations. Click here for a complete list of over 40 Cliff Pickover books.