Brian was born during the Mercury space program of the early 1960's. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, but has lived in Austin, Texas for the past 20 years.
In high school Brian was on the wrestling team and on the track team. These experiences taught him that he was better off running away from fights.
Brian has a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, a master's degree in marine science from the University of Texas, and a Ph.D. in chemistry, also from the University of Texas.
Before becoming a children's book author, Brian worked a variety of jobs, including census taker, hazardous waste operations, and backstage security at rock concerts. These days in addition to writing children's books, Brian teaches chemistry at the University of Texas and answers occasional science questions in Highlights magazine. In his spare time he watches old movies, cooks food that nobody else will eat, and makes custom piñatas.
Although Brian and his family are all lifelong Earthlings, Brian's older daughter is named after one of Neptune's moons.