An American physicist, aerospace engineer, and science fiction writer, he is known for his Dragons' Egg series and his Rocheworld books. His literary work has been praised for its scientific credibility.
After receiving his PhD from the University of Maryland, he worked for Hughes Aircraft, where he conducted research on gravity measurement.
He published eleven novels and more than two hundred papers and articles.
He married Martha Dodson in 1954. The two became parents to three daughters and one son.
He worked for Hughes Aircraft, a company owned by Howard Hughes.