Skip to main content
Login to LibApps


Library and Internet resources for physics.

Library One Search

Library One Search


The new way to find the ASU Library's books, journal articles, government documents, films --- and more --- with just one search!

Need more biographical information? Use the search strategies and resources listed in the middle column.  


Search Strategies

Biographical information for scientists and engineers may appear in the following resources:

  1. To Find Short- to Medium-Length Biographies, use:   
  2. To Find Medium- to Full-Length Biographies, use:

Searching Tips:

  • In electronic resources, try the name both in direct format (john smith) as well as indirect format (smith, john)

  • Look for variations in their name such as nicknames, initials, and alternative spellings.

  • If looking for autobiographies, search the individual as an author

  • If looking for items about the individual (includes both autobiographies and biographies written by others), search the individual as KEYWORD or SUBJECT.

Note: If the ASU Library doesn't have the book or journal article that you need, you may request the item via our Interlibrary Loan Service.

General Biographical Resources

The following items provide biographical information for people from a wide range of professions and/or are famous (infamous) for a variety of reasons.

  1. Biography and Master Genealogy Index
    Indicates where biographical information is available about individuals, both living and deceased, from every field of activity and from all areas of the world, so you are able to quickly determine which publications to consult.  The types of publications indexed are biographical dictionaries, who's who, subject encyclopedias, etc; however, periodical articles or books of biography about a single individual are not included (see the "Books" and "Journal Articles" TABs above to find these types of items). 

  2. Biography Index Retrospective
    Indicates where biographical information is available about individuals, both headliners and historical, from every field of activity, so you are able to quickly determine which publications to consult.  The types of publications indexed are  magazines and journals from 1946-1983.

    Web site of the Biography TV channel; although entertainers, athletes and politicians are featured, many worldwide scientists and engineers (living and dead) are included.

  4. Distinguished Women of Past and Present

  5. Encyclopedia Britannica

  6. Gale Virtual Reference Library

    • Dictionary of Women Worldwide
    • Encyclopedia of World Biography

  7. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
    Information about people who contributed to the history of the British Isles.

General Science & Engineering Biographical Resources

  1. Abbott, David, ed. The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists: Engineers and Inventors . London: Blond Educational, 1984. 
    Q141 .B56x volume 6 Science Reference
    TA139 .B56 1986 West Reference and Stacks 

    From Nicolas Appert to Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, this work provides biographical information on famous engineers and inventors from antiquity to the present. In addition to some general biographical information, each entry concentrates mainly on the contributions each person made to the field of engineering. Line drawings are used in order to enhance the text. The length of each biographical entry varies from one half to one or more pages. A glossary and a subject index can be found at the end of the volume.

  2. Biographical Memoirs. Washington: National Academy Press, 1877- .
    Q141 .N2 Science Reference (Has v4, v12 (1,4,6), v14, v20 (9-10), v24-v58, v61, v63, v65)

    Biographical information on members of the National Academy of Sciences are presented within these volumes. Each biographical entry focuses on the education and the scientific contributions that each member made to his/her field. Entries can range from several to ten or more pages. A signed photograph accompanies each biographical memoir. In addition a bibliography of works published by the National Academy of Sciences member can be found at the end of each biographical discussion.

    In addition to being freely available on the web at the National Academy site, many volumes of the memoirs are also available in the Ebrary collection.

  3. Catalog of the Scientific Community: 16th and 17th centuries

    Compiled by Richard S. Westfall, this site provides detailed biographies on members of the scientific community during the 16th and 17th centuries. Emphasis for each entry are vital facts regarding the person profiled as well as their contributions to science. This is a searchable site. Nineteen fields are available for searching. Among them are name, nationality, scientific discipline, means of support, religion, patronage, etc.

  4. Biographies: The Scientists
    Biographies: The Inventors of the Industrial Revolution

    Web site offering brief biographical information including contributions in the fields of Law, Literature, Philosophy, Economics, The Scientists, The Inventors, Historians, and Early Acadians & Nova Scotians.

  5. Eric Weisstein's World of Scientific Biography

    Arranged alphabetically or by discipline, this set developed by Eric Weisstein presents brief biographies of famous scientists from antiquity to the present. These brief biographies run from one to several paragraphs in length. No picture or photograph is included.

  6. Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences

    African American scientists are alphabetically listed under their major scientific discipline. For each person listed, the birth and death dates (when applicable), place of birth, and the individuals' contributions to the sciences are presented. A photograph accompanies many entries.

  7. Famous Engineers (American Society for Engineering Education)
    List of inventors and engineers famous in their fields, plus people who studied engineering but became artists, entertainers, politicians, and CEOs. 

  8. Famous Engineers (iCivilEngineer)
    Amount of information varies; includes links to other web sites with information on the engineer.

  9. Famous Engineer Series (PDHengineer)
    Stories of engineers with interesting twists, oddities and irony.

  10. Carvill, James. Famous Names in Engineering. London: Butterworths, 1981.
    TA139 .C37 1981 Science Reference

    Arranged alphabetically by last name of the individual, this work represents a compilation of biographical sketches of the lives and works of the major pioneers in engineering. It should be noted that many of the people listed were also known as physicists, mathematicians, etc. Accompanied by a portrait these biographical sketches are approximately one page in length. A diagram or graph is used to illustrate the contribution each made to the engineering field. In the beginning of the work the names of the individuals are arranged alphabetically, by subject, and chronologically. In addition, a brief bibliography is presented for each of the pioneers listed.

  11. 4000 Years of Women in Science

    Biographical information on women scientists. Length of biographies vary.

  12. Gale Virtual Reference Library

    • American Men & Women in Science (23rd edition, 2007 edition; the 2005 22nd edition is also availalbe from this site.)
      Short data entries are provided for living scientists.  Each entry includes, date and place of birth, education, honors and awards, professional experience, professional society memberships, research areas and contact information.  Use the "search within this publication" feature on the left to find specific individuals. 

    • Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography
      This classical biographical set (27 volumes) includes deceased scientists who have made significant contributions to the world of science. It considers persons from ancient Greece through the 20th century. For each person listed, a biographical entry (usally 2-10 pages in length) discussed the scientist's contribution to his/her specific field.  Bibliographies at the end of each entry either include a lengthy listing works by and about the scientist or refer to publications where a comprehensive bibliography may be found.   Use either the e-table of contents or the "search within this publication" feature on the left to find specific individuals.

  13. Great Canadian Scientists

    An in-depth look at over 250 great Canadian scientists of our time. The type of scientist and major achievement is listed first. For each scientist chosen birth and death dates (when appropriate), residence, office, family members, title, status, degrees, awards, mentors, personality, favorite music and other interests are presented in an outline style. In addition the site offers textural information regarding the scientists work. A photograph of each of the scientists is also included. 

  14. Hutchinson Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 2nd ed. Helicon Publishing, 2005.   

    Arrangement is alphabetical by last name of the scientists.

  15. Indexes of Biographies

    This is not an index in the most traditional sense of the word. Rather this site provides short biographical sketches of scientists and engineers from antiquity to the present. Arrangement is alphabetically by last name as well as chronologically.

  16. Invention Dimension: Inventor of the Week Archives

    This site depicts those inventors that were featured on Invention Dimension, which highlights a different inventor each week. For each inventor listed a picture and some general information on the invention is given. Please note this site takes some time to load.

  17. Memorial Tributes . 10 volumes . Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Engineering, 1979-2002.
    TA139 .N34A 1979 Science Reference
    Volumes 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12  are available online

    The purpose of this biographical compilation is to honor the deceased members and foreign associates of the Academy of Engineering. Coverage begins as of December 1964. The biographical sketches considers vital biographical information and the contributions each made to the engineering field. A portrait of each person accompanies the sketch.

  18. People and Discoveries

    What's the story behind electroshock therapy? Who's responsible for increasing the size of the universe? The answers to these and many other questions await you in this web site, which represents a databank consisting of 120 entries about 20th century scientists and their stories.

  19. Scientist Biographies

    Brief biographies and contributions to the field of science.

  20. Simmons, John. The Scientific 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Scientists, Past and Present . Secaucus, N.J.: Carol Publishing Group, 1996.
    Q148 .S55 1996 Science Reference, West Stacks 

    Beginning with Isaac Newton and the Newtonian Revolution to Archimedes and the Beginning of Science, this work provides short biographical sketches on each of the 100 most influential scientists according to the author, John Simmons. For each scientist listed, basic biographical information, along with the major contributions made to science are given. In addition a portrait of each can be found at the beginning of the entry. Most entries are approximately 4 to 5 pages in length. The writing is very clear, i.e. one does not need to be a scientist to enjoy and appreciate the work that was done by the chosen 100. Inexcusable omissions, honorable mentions, and also-rans are featured near the end of the work. A list of source notes, a bibliography, and a name/subject index completes the volume.

  21. Strange Science: Biographies

    Biographies of just some of the people--scientists, artists and collectors--who contributed to what we know today.

  22. Zierdt-Warshaw, Linda, Alan Windler, and Leonard Bernstein. American Women in Technology: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2000.
    T36 .Z54 2000 Science Reference, West Reference 

    This work provides biographical information on women that have made a contribution to technology. Technological fields, besides engineering, include among others, medicine, pharmacology, space exploration, and agriculture. The biographical information provided includes, in most cases, birth and death dates, a synopsis of their work, and a short bibliography. In some cases photographs are included.

    In addition to the biographies a wide variety of additional terms are discussed, such as the Manhattan Project, Argonne National Laboratory, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, etc.

  23. Also browse the ASU Library Catalog for the following:

Physics Biographical Resources

Hours and Locations