Charles Sheffield (June 25, 1935 – November 2, 2002), was an English-born mathematician, physicist and science fiction author. He had been a President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and of the American Astronautical Society.
His novel The Web Between the Worlds, featuring the construction of a space elevator, was published almost simultaneously with Arthur C. Clarke's novel about that very same subject, The Fountains of Paradise, a coincidence that amused them both.
For several consecutive years he was the chief scientist of Earth Satellite Corporation, a company analysing remote sensing satellite data. This resulted in many technical papers and two popular non-fiction books, Earthwatch and Man on Earth, both collections of false colour and enhanced images of Earth from space.
He won the Nebula and Hugo awards for his novelette "Georgia on My Mind" and the 1992 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for his novel Brother to Dragons.
Sheffield was Toastmaster at BucConeer, the 1998 World Science Fiction Convention in Baltimore.
He had been writing a column for the Baen Books web site; his last column concerned the discovery of the brain tumour that led to his death.
Charles Sheffield attended St. John's College Cambridge where he graduated with a Double First in Mathematics and Physics. During his studies he met and later married his first wife, Sarah Sanderson, whose death in 1977 was the catalyst for his writing career. The two of them had a son, Charles Christopher, and his first daughter, Ann Elizabeth. The family soon after moved to America where Sheffield began working in the field of practical physics, a career that would lead him to a consultancy with NASA and the role of chief scientist at the Earth Satellite Corporation in Washington.
In response to the traumatic grief from the death of his wife Sarah to cancer (in 1977), he began what would become a stellar career in the field of science fiction, winning both the prestigious Nebula and Hugo awards and serving as President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (1984—1986). He maintained two successful careers, consulting for various scientific corporations while earning fame for his "Hard SF". Sheffield was known to note that "the world was really too interesting to let alone." During this period he lived in Washington, DC, and met and married Linda Zall, a fellow scientist, and had two daughters, Elizabeth Rose and Victoria Jane.
At the time of his death, he was married to writer Nancy Kress, and living with his children in Silver Spring, MD.