‘Hal Clement’ is the nom de plume under which Harry Clement Stubbs wrote science fiction (he used his full name for science articles, and painted as ‘George Richard’). Born in Massachusetts on this day in 1922, he graduated from Harvard with a BSc in astronomy, and later added degrees in chemistry and education. A former B-24 pilot who saw active service during the Second World War, he worked for most of his life as a high-school science teacher. He made his reputation as an SF writer with the work that appeared in Astounding, where his best-known novel, Mission of Gravity, first appeared in serialised form in 1953.
And of course, Mission of Gravity is where you should start:
And after that masterpiece of hard SF, you’ll no doubt want to continue, so we recommend Clement’s Needle books – Needle and its sequel Through the Eye of a Needle – followed by The Cycle of Fire, Star Light (a ‘Mesklin’ book like Mission of Gravity) and The Best of Hal Clement.