Documentary filmmaker and writer. Freelance science journalist for Economist, London, England, and New York Times, New York, NY, 1989-94; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Los Angeles, CA, and London, documentary producer for BBC Science, 1994-2004; Termite Art Productions, supervising producer, 2004—. Director and producer for television episodes, including "Anatomy of a Shark Bite," Discovery Channel, 2003; several Unsolved History episodes, Discovery Channel, 2002—; and "Dive to Bermuda Triangle," Discovery Quest, 2004. Celebrity interviewer for Universal Studio Networks.
Writer and director of thirty-minute film Future Fantastic-Weird Science, 1996.
The Planets has been translated into seven languages.
After earning a doctorate in biophysics and working as a science writer for the Economist and the New York Times, James Younger turned to documentary filmmaking, producing and directing science films for several companies. In 2004 he began working as supervising producer at Termite Art Productions, a leading content provider for the Discovery Channel. Younger has worked on a handful of series, including Unsolved History, in which the latest scientific and forensic techniques are brought to bear on well-known historical mysteries; Anatomy of …, films that discuss attacks on human by animal predators; and Junkyard Wars, about fantastic vehicles.
The Planets, an award-winning, eight-part series by the British Broadcasting Corporation for which Younger directed three episodes, aired in the United States in 1999 on the Arts and Entertainment channel. Full of the latest information and film footage from scientific exploratory vehicles and telescopes, these films chart man's exploration of the solar system. Younger teamed up with David McNab to write the films' colorfully illustrated companion book of the same title, which Cynthia J. Rieben called "highly informative and entertaining" in her School Library Journal review. The book follows the films' format, with a chapter each on "Different Worlds," "Moon," "Terra Firma, Giants, Star, Atmosphere, Life," and "Beyond the Sun." Although Kathy Sawyer in Washington Post Book World found fault with the book's organization and noted some "lapses of information," an Astronomy critic praised the authors' "superb job of explaining." Booklist reviewer Gilbert Taylor also asserted that the text "efficiently supports the visuals." In the United Kingdom the book was a best-seller, and in the United States it sold over 30,000 copies.
Younger told CA: "I was motivated to switch from an academic research career to one in film and writing by a desire to convey the excitement of advances in science and technology and the import of them to people's everyday lives."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Astronomy, October, 1999, review of The Planets, p. 104.
Booklist, September 1, 1999, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Planets, p. 50.
Christian Science Monitor, December 9, 1999, Merle Rubin, "From Underwater to Outerspace," review of The Planets, p. 20.
School Library Journal, June, 2000, Cynthia J. Rieben, review of The Planets, p. 176.
Washington Post Book World, December 5-11, 1999, Kathy Sawyer, "Cosmic Delights," review of The Planets, p. 4.*