Paul J. Nahin (born November 26, 1940) is an American engineer and author who has written 18 books on topics in physics and mathematics, including biographies of Oliver Heaviside, George Boole, and Claude Shannon, books on mathematical concepts such as Euler's formula and the imaginary unit, and a number of books on the physics and philosophical puzzles of time travel.

Born in California, he graduated from Brea Olinda High School in 1958, and thereafter received a B.S. from Stanford University in 1962, an M.S. from the California Institute of Technology in 1963, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine in 1972.[1]

He thereafter taught at Harvey Mudd College, the University of Virginia, and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.[1]

As of 2004, Nahin is an emeritus professor of electrical engineering at the University of New Hampshire. He received the 2017 Chandler Davis Prize for Excellence in Expository Writing in Mathematics and, in 1979, the first Harry Rowe Mimno writing award from the IEEE Areospace and Electronic Systems Society.


  • In Praise of Simple Physics: The Science and Mathematics behind Everyday Questions (2016)
  • Inside Interesting Integrals (2014)
  • Holy Sci-Fi!: Where Science Fiction and Religion Intersect (2014)[2]
  • The Logician and the Engineer: How George Boole and Claude Shannon Created the Information Age (2012)
  • Chases and Escapes: The Mathematics of Pursuit and Evasion (2012)
  • When Least Is Best: How Mathematicians Discovered Many Clever Ways to Make Things as Small (or as Large) as Possible (2011)
  • Number-Crunching: Taming Unruly Computational Problems from Mathematical Physics to Science Fiction (2011)
  • Dr. Euler's Fabulous Formula: Cures Many Mathematical Ills (2011)[3]
  • Time Travel: A Writer's Guide to the Real Science of Plausible Time Travel (1997)
  • Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt: And Other Intriguing Stories of Mathematical Physics (2009)
  • Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction (2001)[4]
  • The Science of Radio: With MATLAB and Electronics Workbench Demonstrations, 2nd Edition (2001)
  • Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers (2000)
  • An Imaginary Tale: The Story of -1 (1998)[5]
  • Oliver Heaviside: Sage in Solitude : The Life, Work, and Times of an Electrical Genius of the Victorian Age (1988)[6][7][8][9]


  1. ^ a b Electrical and computer engineering expert offers annual Sampson Lecture Bates College News (March 23, 2011).
  2. ^ A. Bultheel (2014) Review: Intersect from European Mathematical Society.
  3. ^ Henry Ricardo (2006) Review: Euler's Fabulous from Mathematical Association of America.
  4. ^ Danielle L. Parker (2006) Review:Time Travel from Bewildering Stories.
  5. ^ Ed Sandifer (1999) Review:Imaginary Tale from Mathematical Association of America.
  6. ^ Y.H. Ku (1989) Journal of the Franklin Institute 326:3.
  7. ^ Robert Rosenberg (1989) Isis.
  8. ^ George E. Webb (1989) The Historian.
  9. ^ Jed Buchwald (1991) Centaurus.

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