Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Louise B. Young  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1919 in Springfield, Ohio

Died: May 8, 2010 in Lake Forest, Illinois

-- Louise B. Young on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Louise lived in Winnetka, Illinois for many years.

Biographical and Professional Information

A noted author on science and the environment, she wrote on a wide range of topics, including atmospheric science, ecology, physics, and astronomy. She was born in 1919 on a remote farm in southern Ohio. In 1936 she won a scholarship to Vassar College, where she majored in physics –the only woman in her class to do so. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa she worked for a time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York where she specialized in the work of Edward Steichen and Ansel Adams. At the start of World War II she was invited to join the Radiation Laboratory at MIT, where she was part of an elite team of scientists developing the new science of radar. In 1944 she married Hobart P. Young and moved to Winnetka Illinois, where she lived for many years. Beginning in the 1960’s she wrote a series of books that explained the basics of physics, astronomy, geology, and environmental science for lay audiences. In 1973 she published Power Over People, one of the first books to point out the potential health risks posed by high-voltage power lines due to the electromagnetic fields that they create. Other books include The Unfinished Universe, Sowing the Wind, Earth’s Aura, Exploring the Universe, and The Blue Planet. Her most recent book, Islands: Portraits of Miniature Worlds, argued that the history of island ecologies can help us understand how better to manage the global environment. She remained active into old age, publishing her last book at the age of eighty. She also fulfilled a lifelong dream when, at the age of sixty, she earned a Master’s of Science degree in Geology at the University of Chicago

Published Works

  • Best Foot Forward (Juvenile), Van Nostrand, 1968
  • Power Over People, Oxford University Press, 1973
  • Earth`s Aura, Knopf, 1977
  • The Blue Planet, Little, Brown, 1983
  • Sowing the Wind, Reflections of the Earth`s Atmosphere, Prentice Hall, 1990
  • The Unfinished Universe, Simon & Schuster, 1986
  • Islands, Portraits of Miniature Worlds, W. H. Freeman, 1999

Selected Titles At Your Library

Power over people /
ISBN: 0195075781. OCLC Number:

Oxford University Press,. New York :. ©1992.

For most of us, life is spent in one vast electromagnetic field. In the office we sit in front of computer terminals, at home, in front of the television. We cook our meals in microwave ovens, trim our hedges with electric shears, illuminate our houses, workplaces, and streets with incandescent and fluorescent lighting. And until only recently, the potential hazards imposed by life in the shadows of high-voltage power lines have hardly been considered. First published in 1973, Power Over People was the first book to address the frightening potential side effects of our dependence on electrical.

The blue planet /
ISBN: 0316977071. OCLC Number:

Little, Brown,. Boston :. ©1983.

Chronicles the evolution of our planet by tracing humankinds discovery of the earth's inner workings.

Sowing the wind :
ISBN: 0130835021. OCLC Number:

Prentice Hall Press,. New York :. ©1990.

The unfinished universe /
ISBN: 0195080394. OCLC Number:

Oxford University Press,. New York :. 1993.

Islands :
ISBN: 0716739666. OCLC Number:

W.H. Freeman,. New York :. ©1999.

Louise Young explores some of the most fascinating of these isolated landscapes, particularly those whose stories address the delicate balance that exists between the land, the people, and other living beings. An environmentalist and geophysicist, Young describes the unique history and personality of each island - its birth and evolution, the geology that has shaped its landscape, and its human, plant, and animal inhabitants.


  • Sandburg Literacy Award

    Speaking Engagements

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