A twentieth-century American author, he is best known for his award-winning science fiction novel, Ringworld. The novel, published in 1970, received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards.
He graduated from Washburn University (Topeka, Kansas) with a degree in mathematics, and went on to a year of graduate study at the University of California-Los Angeles.
He adapted several of his works into scripts for The Outer Limits and other science fiction series.
His great-grandfather, Edward L. Doheny, was involved in the Teapot Dome political scandal in the 1920s.
He helped advise Ronald Reagan on the Space Defensive Initiative, also called Star Wars, during the Cold War.