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New Biography Reveals How a South African Rascal Became the "Flywheel of the Machine of American Science"

Founder of Sea Grant: Athelstan Spilhaus  

With Tomorrow in Mind: How Athelstan Spilhaus Turned America Toward the Future is a 200-page profile of a man that some called a “gadfly” and other’s called “the ocean community’s Michelangelo.” Written by Sharon Moen, communications coordinator for the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program, this biography spans a life … and an era … that encompassed WWII, the "Roswell Incident,” the space race, and some of the United States’ most astonishing scientific advances. The biography is available through the University of Minnesota Bookstore, Minnesota Sea Grant and for $14.95 plus shipping.

If you’ve walked across a skyway in Minneapolis, if you’ve gazed at the Sun Triangle in New York City, or visited the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, you’ve brushed up with Professor Spilhaus, a man so multifaceted that Walter Cronkite called him the most interesting person he had ever interviewed. Winston Churchill wrote Dr. Spilhaus a thank you letter for helping the Allies win WWII and President Kennedy was one of his biggest fans. Spilhaus wrote a syndicated comic strip, Our New Age, for 15 years as a hobby. Simultaneously he invented the National Sea Grant Program and almost realized his dream of building an experimental dome city in Minnesota. Threaded together by his commitment to science and the future, Spilhaus's breathtaking accomplishments are a testament to a dynamic time in world history and to the potential within each of us.
If you believe that education is essential, science can be entertaining, and that innovative people can change the world, put With Tomorrow in Mind on your reading list. For more information on Dr. Spilhaus, visit Minnesota Sea Grant online at
Minnesota Sea Grant facilitates interactions among the public and scientists to enhance the environment and economies along Lake Superior and Minnesota's inland waters by identifying information needs, fostering research, and communicating results. Minnesota Sea Grant is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Minnesota. It is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 33 similar science-based programs.

Cover of book With Tomorrow in Mind  


"This is a fascinating introduction to a man who toyed with our future."
—Matt Novak, editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture Blog

"A dreamy pragmatist or a pragmatic dreamer? Whichever, Althelstan Spilhaus's unique mind and audacious vision melded science and art to imagine new futures, sparking many who encountered his work to think differently about their own creative potential."
—Paul Schmelzer, arts writer and editor of

October 2015

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