Randall Patrick Munroe (born October 17, 1984) is an American blogger who began his professional life as a NASA roboticist. He was born in Eaton, Pennsylvania, and attended college at Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Newport News, Virginia. He was an independently-contracted roboticist at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia for a period of time extending both before and after his graduation from CNU, but in October of 2006 NASA did not renew his contract.
What does he do now? He writes xkcd.
With a sardonic, punny wit and intricate knowledge of many areas of science and computer programming, Munroe utilizes a simplistic, stick-figure artwork style to deliver nerdy punchlines and communicate odd scientific trivia in his writing — not just in xkcd, but What If? and his own personal blog as well. He has also spoken at TED Talks and released five books: xkcd volume 0, What If?, Thing Explainer, How To, and What If? 2.
Works by Randall Munroe:
- xkcd (started 2005), a stick figure webcomic updating Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- "Cartoon-Off: XKCD" (archived version) (2008), an interview and "cartoon-off" with Farley Katz in The New Yorker in which each drew four cartoons, following a list of prompts.
- "?", a short story in the Machine of Death anthology, published 2010.
- What If? (started 2012), a sort of Ask Amy of the weird-science-question world. Also has a book, with the subtitle, Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, published 2014.
- "The Space Doctor's Big Idea" (archived version) (2015), an article for The New Yorker explaining Einstein's general theory of relativity using only the 1,000 most common English words.
- Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words (2015), a book that talks about a lot of things using only the ten hundred most used words, like this picture with writing.
- How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems (2019), a book describing absurdly impractical solutions to problems.
- Good Question (started 2019), a column in The New York Times where he answers reader-submitted questions.
- What If? 2: Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (2022)