Robert Cecil Olby (born in London in 1933) is a research professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Formerly at the University of Leeds, UK, Robert Olby is a historian of 19th and 20th century biology, his special fields being genetics and molecular biology.
Olby completed a biography of the late Francis Crick, which was published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press on 25 August 2009, with support from the National Science Foundation and the award of an Archives Fellowship at Churchill College, Cambridge. Its publication before Crick's death in 2004 was disallowed by Crick; and it is entitled Francis Crick: Hunter of Life's Secrets, after an article in The New York Times on February 2, 1962.
Books and papers by Robert Olby
- Charles Darwin; Oxford University Press, London, 1967, 64pp.
- Early Nineteenth Century European Scientists; Pergamon Press, 1967, 179pp. ISBN 0-415-14578-3
- The Origins of Mendelism; Constable 1966. 204 pages ISBN 0-226-62592-3
- The Twentieth Century Sciences, Studies in the Biography of Ideas, edited by Gerald Holton; W.W. Norton & Co., New York 1972: article "Francis Crick, DNA, and the Central Dogma".
- 'Rosalind Elsie Franklin' biography in Dictionary of Scientific Biography, ed. Charles C. Gillespie (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons) ISBN 0-684-10121-1
- The Path to the Double Helix: The Discovery of DNA; University of Washington Press, Seattle 1974 & revised 1994) ISBN 0-486-68117-3
- Companion to the History of Modern Science (ed.); Routledge, London, 1990, 1081pp. ISBN 0-415-01988-5
- "Robert Darlington: Forgotten Prophet of Genetics", American Scientist Nov-Dec 2004
- "Quiet debut for the double helix" Nature 421 (January 23, 2003): 402-405.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:‘Huxley, Sir Julian Sorell (1887–1975)’, first published Sept 2004, 2680 words
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: ‘Bernal, (John) Desmond (1901–1971)’, first published Sept 2004, 2870 words, with portrait illustration
- "Francis Crick: Hunter of Life's Secrets", Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, ISBN 978-0-87969-798-3, published 25 August 2009; 450 pp;  and Peter Lawrence's review in "Current Biology" .
- 'Crick, Francis Harry Compton (1916–2004)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edn, Oxford University Press, Jan. 2008
- 'Perutz, Max Ferdinand (1914-2002)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edn, Oxford University Press, Jan. 2008
- 'Wilkins, Maurice Hugh Frederick (1916-2004)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edn, Oxford University Press, Jan. 2008