Robert Kanigel was once a mechanical engineer. He grew up in Brooklyn, attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City, graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1966 with an engineering degree.
He decided to pursue writing after spending time in Paris in his early 20s and working at an underground newspaper. His first paid articles appeared in Baltimore Magazine and in the Sunday magazine of the Baltimore Sun.
From late 1971 to 1974 he lived in San Francisco before returning to Baltimore in late 1975. There he lived and worked -- always as a freelancer -- until 1999. Beginning in the 1980s, his work began appearing in national publications and he received a number of awards. Over the years he has had about 400 articles, essays, and book reviews published. His first published novel was Apprentice to Genius in 1986.
Beginning in the 1980s, he taught writing classes, first in the evening school of Johns Hopkins University, then in the University of Baltimore's Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts. In 1999 he accepted a position as professor of science writing at MIT. There, he helped start its Graduate Program in Science Writing, which he directed for seven years.
Now he has retired from MIT and has gone back to writing full-time. In August 2011, he moved with his wife Sarah to a house in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore.
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