How Did We Find Out? Books

How Did We Find Out is a series of subject specific exploratory novels by renowned science and fiction author Isaac Asimov. The first novel in the How Did We Find Out series was “How Did We Find Out the Earth Is Round?” That was first published in 1973. The series of novels are small descriptions of scientific discoveries mainly written as introductory courses for junior high schoolers.

Order of How did we find out Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 How Did We Find Out about Photosynthesis? 1966 Description / Buy
2 How Did We Find Out the Earth is Round? 1972 Description / Buy
3 How Did We Find Out about Lasers? 1972 Description / Buy
4 How Did We Find Out about Germs? 1973 Description / Buy
5 How Did We Find Out about Electricity? 1973 Description / Buy
6 How Did We Find Out About Numbers? 1973 Description / Buy
7 How Did We Find Out about Energy? 1975 Description / Buy
8 How Did We Find Out about Atoms? 1976 Description / Buy
9 How Did We Find Out about Black Holes? 1978 Description / Buy
10 How Did We Find Out about Earthquakes? 1978 Description / Buy
11 How Did We Find Out about Our Human Roots? 1979 Description / Buy
12 How Did We Find Out about Solar Power? 1981 Description / Buy
13 How Did We Find Out About Outer Space? 1981 Description / Buy
14 How Did We Find Out about the Beginning of Life? 1982 Description / Buy
15 How Did We Find Out about the Universe? 1983 Description / Buy
16 How Did We Find Out about Robots? 1984 Description / Buy
17 How Did We Find Out About Computers? 1984 Description / Buy
18 How Did We Find Out about DNA? 1985 Description / Buy
19 How Did We Find Out about Pluto? 1990 Description / Buy
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The series of novels was conceived when Asmov’s editor at Walker & Company suggested he write a series of Science History for junior high school students, that were to have a title starting with How Did We Find Out. Over the years, Asimov being the science nerd expanded the range of subjects to include anthropology, geology, mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, and astronomy among many others.

The first novel in the series “How Did We Find Out the Earth Is Round?” is an fine discussion of how the theories that led to the concept of the Earth as being round. The novel starts at the very basic level by asking if the earth is flat. Once it is ascertained that the Earth could not be flat it moves on to analyze the different theories that existed before the majority of the people took the spherical theory as fact.

The first stop is asking why the sun just like the stars disappears every night. It analyzes different theories from the ancient Mayans, Indians, Persians, and the Greeks. It moves from the conceptions of the Earth as flat to when Greek scholars looked at ships disappearing on the horizon and the moon changing shapes which shifted perspectives. He then shifts from Greek period to the time of the explorers such as Columbus and Magellan who circumnavigate the Earth to confirm the Earth as round.


How Did We Find Out about Dinosaurs?: This is an incredible novel in the How We Found Out series that traces how we came to the knowledge of dinosaurs. The novel starts out by tracing the roots of history that was for the most part pioneered by Europeans in the latter part of the second millennium.

Asimov then moves to explain how history was understood from the perspective of the Bible, before people realized that evidence of catastrophes was buried underneath their feet. With the development of archeology as a specialty discipline, archeologists soon found bones of different plants and animals. Digging even deeper they discovered the bones of reptilians that mainly existed in deeper strata and had several similar characteristics not found in modern reptiles.

How Did We Find Out About Nuclear Power?: While one of the most complicated of Asimov’s works is also one of the most highly regarded. Starting from the development of electricity in the 1800s, Asimov explains how scientists move from knowing about electrons in atoms, before they attained greater understanding in nuclei composition. By 1919, scientists learned that they could collide two particles in the nuclei of an atom to make a reaction that provided energy. By the 1940s, scientists learnt of the best elements to make controlled reactions, which were employed in reactors by the 1970s.

How We Found Out About Electricity?: This is an incredible novel in the series from the master story teller Isaac Asimov. Going from how we used to use different types of power from lighting from wind to paraffin to water, he moves to explain the uses of electricity. He provides a timeline the development of the almost magical electricity that is today used in so many applications from lighting to powering appliance over the years.

He explains in a concise and conclusive style the many experiments by the likes of Tesla and Edison that finally resulted in electricity in its current form. While some experiments and stories about electricity are what many may have heard, the struggle between the DC and AC camps during the early years of electricity still makes for very interesting reading.


Many fans of the “How We Found Out” series of novels also like the Nights Dawn trilogy by Peter F Hamilton. These are science fiction novels set in a multiverse of artificial orbiting worlds where the dead come back to take over the bodies over the living.

Most fans of the How We Found Out About series also love the “Zones of Thought” series by Vernor Vinge. The novels fantasy/science fiction novels set in interstellar space where the human mind’s capabilities can be infinitely enhanced depending on one’s location in space.

What Is The Next Book in The How Did We Find Out Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The How Did We Find Out Series. The newest book is How Did We Find Out about Pluto? and was released on November, 30th 1989.