Jago, Lucy 1968(?)-

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JAGO, Lucy 1968(?)-

PERSONAL: Born c. 1968; children: one. Education: King's College, Cambridge, double first class honors degree; Courtauld Institute, M.A.

ADDRESSES: Home—Dorset, England. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Random House, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER: Worked as documentary producer for British Broadcasting Channel and Channel 4 in England.


The Northern Lights, Knopf (New York, NY), 2001.

Regular contributor to newspapers and magazines.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A book set in the Gobi desert.

SIDELIGHTS: Lucy Jago, now a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines, is a former documentary producer for the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) and Channel 4. While making a documentary about the sun for the BBC, Jago discovered the story behind the northern lights and the scientist who was able to correctly explain their origin.

Jago's first book, The Northern Lights, is a biography of Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland (1867-1917). Birkeland was the first scientist to discover the correct explanation behind the northern lights. Through scientific observations and experiments, Birkeland theorized that the northern lights were a result of electrically charged particles from the sun hitting the earth's upper atmosphere. His theory was scoffed at by British scientists, but accepted by others; it was proven to be correct after his death.

In The Northern Lights Jago examines Birkeland's dangerous expeditions and experiments which led to his theory on the origin of the northern lights. She also gives details about his other works, which include sixty patents for fertilizers, an electro-magnetic gun, and other inventions. Not only does Jago detail Birkeland's work, she also discusses his personal life, including his childhood, family, romantic life, idiosyncrasies, and mental health. "Instead of a stiff, scholarly biography, British journalist Jago has written a poignantly human story filled with minute, extensively researched details," noted Gloria Maxwell in a Library Journal review. Booklist contributor Donna Seaman concluded, "Jago's lucid and captivating blend of biography, physics, and cultural history adds a vital chapter to the annals of science and finally gives Birkeland his due."



Booklist, September 1, 2001, Donna Seaman, review of The Northern Lights, p. 27; January 1, 2002, Barbara Baskin, review of The Northern Lights, p. 876.

Economist, June 16, 2001, "Atmospheric Stuff; Understanding the Sky; Weather Patterns," p. 2.

Harper's Magazine, November, 2001, Guy Davenport, review of The Northern Lights, p. 73.

Library Journal, November 1, 2001, Gloria Maxwell, review of The Northern Lights, p. 129.

New York Times Book Review, October 21, 2001, Annette Kobak, "Running Outside in Pajamas."

Publishers Weekly, August 13, 2001, review of The Northern Lights, p. 296.

World and I, March, 2002, Alv Egeland, "A Brilliant, yet Mysterious Scientist," p. 256.


Austin Chronicle Online,http://www.austinchronicle.com/ (September 5, 2002), Ana Hanks, review of The Northern Lights.

Book Browse,http://www.bookbrowse.com/ (September 5, 2002), "A Conversation with Lucy Jago, author of The Northern Lights,"

Decatur Daily Online,http://www.decaturdaily.com/ (September 5, 2002), David L. Roop, "Kristian Birkeland and the Story of the Northern Lights."

Guardian Unlimited,http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (September 5, 2002), Chris Lavers, "Light Fantastic."

Lucy Jago Web site,http://www.lucyjago.com (September 5, 2002).

Nonfiction Reviews,http://www.nonfictionreviews.com/ (September 5, 2002), Rob Hardy, "Fascinating Biography Lights Up the Skies."

Random House Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/ (September 5, 2002), "Lucy Jago."

Rhode Island College Web site,http://www.ric.edu/ (September 5, 2002), Jonathan Dore, review of The Northern Lights.*