Skip to main content
Banner Image

Biographical Resources for the Sciences: Home

This guide identifies major resources and suggestions for biographical research in the sciences.

Selected Science Biography Books in the Yale Libraries (click on cover)

Library Resources in Science Biography



This guide provides links, citations, and tips for finding resources related to science biography. 

Famous Scientists and broad coverage:


Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography - Features deceased scientists from ancient times through the 21st Century. Signed articles. Some portraits in black and white. Bibliographies. Index by specialty.Online version of Dictionary of Scientific Biography and New Dictionary of Scientific Biography.  Print editions held at CSSSI, Medical/Historical Library, and SML Starr Main Reference Room.

ORBIS - Online Catalog (books and journals in the Yale University Library System) To find biographies or autobiographies for an individual, enter the person's name in Orbis Advanced search keyword box. An example book is: Spencer Baird of the Smithsonian by EF Rivinius and EM Youssef. Library Shelving Facility QH31 B17 R58X For collective science biography enter a keyword search such as scientists biography or biologists biography. Some biographical indexes are also available which cover entries in collective science biography. These books may be found in Orbis by entering a keyword search such as science bio-bibliography indexes.

Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists. 3rd ed. 2009. 2000 entries, birth and death dates, living and deceased persons. CSSSI Reference Q141 B53X 2009 (LC), 2009 LSF Q141 B53 2009, 1981 CSSSI Q141 B53 1981 + Oversize

World Who's Who in Science: from antiquity to the present. c1968. Approximately 30,000 entries. Includes profession, birthdate and place, parents' names, spouse name(s), wedding date, children's names, positions, home and office address. LSF Q141 W67+ Oversize, Medical Library Reference Ref 13 Q141 W67 1968 

Biography and Genealogy Master Index.  Indexes biographical entries from more than 2700 volumes. Contemporary and historical persons. LSF Z5305 U5 B562 (LC)+ Oversize volume 1 1996/2000 - volume 4 2000/2005 cumulation

Profiles in Science. Biographical information on prominent physicians, scientists, and public health pioneers. Persons in biomedical research, health and medicine, or fostering science and health. Includes some PDF documents. From National Library of Medicine.

Index to Scientists of the World from Ancient to Modern Times: biographies and portraits by NO Ireland, c1962. Provides names, dates, and cites to entries with or without portraits from over 400 collective biography works. CSSSI Z7404 I73 (LC), Beinecke Reference Z7404 I73 (LC), Medical/Historical, Morse Reading Room, 2nd floor Coll Biog I74 1962

Prominent Scientists: an index to collective biographies. Indexes 323 collective biography books. Index by field. 3rd ed., c1994. LSF Q141 P398 1994+ Oversize, LSF, CSSSI Q141 P398 1985+ Oversize, Medical Library Reference Ref 13 Q141 P398 1994+ Oversize

Encyclopedia of World Scientists. c2007. Some portraits, living and deceased persons, international in scope, 600 B.C. to early 2000s. CSSSI 2 volumes Q141 O25 2007 (LC) + Oversize 2001 LSF Q141 O25X 2001 + Oversize

Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. Medical Library, Morse Reading Room, lower level, non-circulating Hist Per v1 (1955)-v55 (2009) [2004 and 2007 not held], CSSSI 15 (1969) Q41 R67 A2

The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists. 2 volumes Editors: Roy Porter and Marilyn Ogilvie. 3rd edition Helicon Publishing, c2000. Over 1280 biographies of men and women scientists, living and deceased, from throughout time.  International in scope. Fields covered include: astronomy, botany, biology, chemistry, cosmology, engineering, exploration, geology, mathematics, physics.  Bibliographies for further reading. LSF

Marquis Biographies Online - Content is from all Who's Who publications (1985-) and Who Was Who in America (1607-1985). Also includes Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Who's Who in American Nursing. Living and deceased persons.

Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences. - Many of these volumes are online through Orbis as well as online through the Academy. Portraits and life events and a selected bibliography for deceased members of the Academy. 1877-


Science Research Support Librarian - Life Sciences

Lori Bronars's picture
Lori Bronars
219 Prospect St., PO Box 208111 New Haven, CT 06520-8111

Center for Science and Social Science Information C38 Kline Biology Tower
Yale University

non-CSSSI office hours:
Tuesdays 9-10 am 1st floor break room OML
Fridays 1:30-2:30 pm BASS 205
203 432 6213