Thomas McMahon is one of those writers who fall under the radar screen, which is rather unfortunate, as his four novels are all brilliant treatments not only of science and how science and real life interact but of history and people. All are told with a great humour that makes them thoroughly enjoyable. He was born in Dayton in 1943. His father was a physicist. He was educated at Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He taught at Harvard University, where he was Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Mechanics and Professor of Biology. As well as writing four novels, he also wrote books and numerous articles on scientific subjects. However, he always maintained that his novel-writing and scientific life were separate and incompatible. He died in 1999.