Book cover of Northern Lights by Lucy Jago

Winner of the National Biography Prize, ‘The Northern Lights’ is an account of one of history’s most visionary scientists, taking the reader to the remotest regions of the Earth and into space.

Biography, exploration and science converge in this true story of the life and work of Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland, the tragic genius who solved the mysteries of one of the Aurora Borealis.

The Northern Lights


  • 'A heartwrenching mix of human interest, history and thrilling rendition of scientific interest. It has all the stylishness of good fiction, and its huge dollops of well-researched scientific fact go down with amazing ease.'

    The Telegraph Magazine
  • 'Jago is a taut, imaginative writer. Her description of the winter Birkeland and his young protégés spent huddled by the stove makes one gasp at the old, reckless days of science... Entertaining, provocative.'

    The Times Literary Supplement
  • 'Lucy Jago's account of [Kristian Birkeland's] heroic and horrifying expedition... is as gripping as a Conan Doyle adventure.'

    Harper's Magazine

Kristian Birkeland with his terrella machine simulating the earth in space taken in his laboratory around 1910. He claimed the fez would protect him from radiation, although it was probably his idea of a joke.

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