Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Louise B. Young  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction

Born: 1919 in Springfield, Ohio


Illinois Connection

Louise lived in Winnetka, Illinois for many years.

Biographical and Professional Information

A noted author on science and the environment, she wrote on a wide range of topics, including atmospheric science, ecology, physics, and astronomy. She was born in 1919 on a remote farm in southern Ohio. In 1936 she won a scholarship to Vassar College, where she majored in physics –the only woman in her class to do so. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa she worked for a time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York where she specialized in the work of Edward Steichen and Ansel Adams. At the start of World War II she was invited to join the Radiation Laboratory at MIT, where she was part of an elite team of scientists developing the new science of radar. In 1944 she married Hobart P. Young and moved to Winnetka Illinois, where she lived for many years. Beginning in the 1960’s she wrote a series of books that explained the basics of physics, astronomy, geology, and environmental science for lay audiences. In 1973 she published Power Over People, one of the first books to point out the potential health risks posed by high-voltage power lines due to the electromagnetic fields that they create. Other books include The Unfinished Universe, Sowing the Wind, Earth’s Aura, Exploring the Universe, and The Blue Planet. Her most recent book, Islands: Portraits of Miniature Worlds, argued that the history of island ecologies can help us understand how better to manage the global environment. She remained active into old age, publishing her last book at the age of eighty. She also fulfilled a lifelong dream when, at the age of sixty, she earned a Master’s of Science degree in Geology at the University of Chicago

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-- *Sandburg Literacy Award