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Biographical Resources for the Sciences: Home

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


Welcome to the Science Biography Subject Guide. In this guide you'll find:

  • links to online science biographical resources
  • a list of paper sources for science biography by field
  • a list of resources on Nobel Prize Laureates
  • a list of sources for geographically-specialized entries
  • links, citations, and tips for finding resources related to science biography

Library Resources in Science Biography for Famous and Some Lesser-Known Scientists



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 Marx Library, 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.

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

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-

World Biographical Information System. - Database from De Gruyter. Biographical information on > 6 million people starting from the 8th century B.C. to the end of the 20th century. Collects information from 30 biographical archives. Includes Johann Christian Poggendorff's Biographisch-Literarisches Handworterbuch der exakten Naturwissenschaften/Biographisch-Literarisches Handworterbuch zur Geschichte der exacten Wissenschaften. For deceased persons. International in scope and covering all fields. 


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