James Gleick (born August 1, 1954) is an author, journalist, and biographer, whose books explore the cultural ramifications of science and technology. Three of these books have been Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalists, and they have been translated into more than twenty languages.
Born in New York City, Gleick attended Harvard College, graduating in 1976 with a degree in English and linguistics. Having worked for the Harvard Crimson and freelanced in Boston, he moved to Minneapolis, where he helped found a short-lived weekly newspaper, Metropolis. After its demise, he returned to New York and joined as staff of the New York Times, where he worked for ten years as an editor and reporter.
He was the McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University in 1989-90. Gleick collaborated with the photographer Eliot Porter on Nature's Chaos and with developers at Autodesk on Chaos: The Software. In 1993, he founded The Pipeline, an early Internet service. Gleick is active on the boards of the Authors Guild and the Key West Literary Seminar.
His first book, Making a New Science, an international best-seller, chronicled the development of chaos theory and made the Butterfly Effect a household phrase.
Among the scientists Gleick profiled were Mitchell Feigenbaum, Stephen Jay Gould, Douglas Hofstadter, Richard Feynman and Benoit Mandelbrot. His early reporting on Microsoft anticipated the antitrust investigations by the U. S. Department of Justice and the European Commission. Gleick's essays charting the growth of the Internet included the "Fast Forward" column on technology in the New York Times Magazine from 1995 to 1999 and formed the basis of his book What Just Happened. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker, the Atlantic, Slate, and the Washington Post.