Check out these memoirs about Society alumni - Society for Science Skip to content

Check out these memoirs about Society alumni

Society alum, Homer Hickam's memoir, Rocket Boys, debuted in a film titled October Sky. Photo credited to Shawn Wright

Alumni of the Science Talent Search and the International Science and Engineering Fair have won some of the world’s top scientific awards. It shouldn’t be surprising, therefore, that books are written about them.

Here are a few titles to add to your “to be read” list:

Rocket Boys: A Memoir (The Coalwood Series #1)
by Homer Hickam, Jr.

Homer Hickam, a 1960 alumnus of the National Science Fair, now known as the International Science and Engineering Fair, released his award-winning memoir, Rocket Boys in 1998. In 1999, the tale premiered in theaters nationwide in a film titled, October Sky, which is famously known to be an anagram of Rocket Boys.

Spinach on the Ceiling: The Multifaceted Life of a Theoretical Chemist
by Martin Karplus

We are looking forward to this autobiography by Martin Karplus, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and a 1947 Science Talent Search alumnus. This autobiography details Karplus’s journey from his childhood in Vienna to his education in the United States to his scientific career.

Hood: Trailblazer of the Genomics Age
by Luke Timmerman

Leroy (Lee) Hood, alumnus of the 1956 Science Talent Search, led a team at Caltech that developed the first automated DNA sequencer, a tool that made the Human Genome Project possible. His work contributed to the transformation of biology to a quantitative, efficient and data-driven science wherein scientists the world over could now analyze DNA more broadly, rather than analyzing just a single gene for years. Learn about his journey through this biography by reporter Luke Timmerman.

Have you read books about our alumni that you would recommend? Email us at

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Aparna Paul