Marshall Brain

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Marshall Brain
Marshall David Brain

(1961-05-17) May 17, 1961 (age 62)
EducationB.S. Electrical Engineering
M.S. Computer Science
Alma materRensselaer Polytechnic Institute
North Carolina State University
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, author, public speaker
Known forHowStuffWorks
Factory Floor with Marshall Brain

Marshall David Brain II (born May 17, 1961) is an American author, public speaker, futurist, and entrepreneur who specializes in making complex topics easy to understand.[1] Brain is the founder of and the author of the How Stuff Works book series. He hosted the National Geographic channel's Factory Floor with Marshall Brain and Who Knew? With Marshall Brain.[2][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Marshall Brain was born in Santa Monica, California, where his father designed components for moon rockets.[1] [2] He received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1983, and a M.S in computer science from North Carolina State University.[5][1]

Marshall taught in the computer science department at North Carolina State University from 1986 to 1992.[6] He also wrote computer programming manuals and ran a software training and consulting company.[7]

Business career[edit]

In 1998, Brain founded the website as a hobby. [8][9][2] In 2002, Time magazine described as "an eclectic encyclopedia that covers everything from torque converters to dieting to DNA."[8] In 2002, Brain sold a part of his related company, How Stuff Works Inc., to The Convex Group, an Atlanta-based investment company owned by former Web MD CEO Jeff Arnold, for an estimated $1 million.[10] Discovery purchased the website for $250 million in 2007 and introduced its television show How Stuff Works in 2008.[11][1]

In 2008 and 2009, he hosted Factory Floor with Marshall Brain and the Who Knew? With Marshall Brain, both on the National Geographic channel.[2][12][4] For these shows, Brain showed viewers how products are designed, tested, and manufactured.[12] Brain says shows like this are popular because "We use this stuff every day and some of it's so interesting. Like the science underneath it, and how people use that science to make the product and other people make it cheap enough for all of us to be able to afford it."[2]

Brain has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, CNN, and Modern Marvels.[13][14]

In addition to his How Stuff Works nonfiction book series, Brain writes about robotics, transhumanism, and atheism, including his books The Second Intelligent Species: How Humans Will Become as Irrelevant as Cockroaches (2015) and Manna: Two Views of Humanity's Future (2012).[15][16] Brain maintains that automation and robots will lead to unemployment for humans, such as 1.5 million big-rig truck drivers in the U.S. losing their jobs to self-driving cars, requiring a government guaranteed minimum income.[15] [16]

Brain currently lectures and is the director of the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program at North Carolina State University.[13] He is currently working on EcoPRT, a new transportation system, with Dr. Seth Hollar.[16][17][18]

Personal life[edit]

Brain resides in Cary, North Carolina with his wife Leigh and four children.[7][9][12] He is an atheist and runs the website Why Won't God Heal Amputees?.[19] In 2018, he was a speaker during the March for Science, a protest against President Donald Trump.[20]


Books Publisher Date ISBN
Motif Programming: The Essentials... and More Digital Press 1992 ISBN 1-55558-089-0
Using Windows NT: The Essentials for Professionals Prentice Hall 1993 ISBN 0130919772
Win 32 System Services: The Heart of Windows NT Prentice Hall 1994 ISBN 9780130978257
Windows NT Administration: Single Systems to Heterogeneous Networks Prentice Hall 1994 ISBN 0131766945
Visual C++ 2: Developing Professional Applications in Windows 95 and NT Using MFC Prentice Hall 1995 ISBN 0-13-305145-5
Windows Application Design with OLE 2.0: For Windows and Windows NT Prentice Hall 1995 ISBN 0130978175
Developing Professional Applications: For Windows 95 and NT Using MFC, with CD-ROM Prentice Hall 1996 ISBN 9780136163435
Sybase System XI Prentice Hall 1996 ISBN 0134948653
Win 32 System Services (2nd edition) Prentice Hall 1996 ISBN 0133247325
The Teenager's Guide to the Real World: How to Become a Successful Adult BYG Publishing 1997 ISBN 0-9657430-3-9
Microsoft Technology: Networking, Concepts, Tools Prentice Hall 1998 ISBN 0130805580
Understanding COM+ Prentice Hall 1998 ISBN 0130959669
Win 32 System Services: The Heart of Windows 98 and Windows 2000 (3rd Edition) Prentice Hall 2000 ISBN 0130225576
Windows CE 3.0: Application Programming [With CDROM] Prentice Hall 2000 ISBN 9780130255921
How Much Does the Earth Weigh? (Marshall Brain's How Stuff Works) Wiley 2001 ISBN 0-7645-6519-2
Marshall Brain's How Stuff Works Wiley 2001 ISBN 0-7645-6518-4
Marshall Brain's More How Stuff Works Wiley 2002 ISBN 0-7645-6711-X
What If...? Intriguing Answers for the Insatiably Curious Wiley 2002 ISBN 0-7645-6657-1
Brain's Sum and Substance Quick Review on Contracts, 7th edition West 2006 ISBN 0314166831
The Science Book: Everything You Need to Know About the World and How It Works National Geographic 2008 ISBN 9781426203374
The Day You Discard Your Body BYG Publishing Inc. 2012 ASIN B00ATF93BS
How to Make a Million Dollars BYG Publishing Inc. 2012 ISBN 9780985232122
How to Raise Money from Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists BYG Publishing Inc. 2012 ASIN B00AUJGM3A
Manna - Two Views of Humanity's Future BYG Publishing Inc. 2012 ISBN 978-0-9852321-1-5
The Meaning of Life BYG Publishing Inc. 2012 ASIN B007F1PMJ6
50 Things that Can Kill Your Child and How to Avoid All of Them BYG Publishing Inc. 2013 ASIN B00HNFP816
Robotic Nation & Robotic Freedom BYG Publishing Inc. 2013 ASIN B00HCQLR5M
The Engineering Book: From the Catapult to the Curiosity Rover, 250 Milestones in the History of Engineering Union Square Co 2015 ISBN 978-1454908098
How God Works: A Skeptic Questions Belief Sterling Ethos 2015 ISBN 9781454910619
The Second Intelligent Species: How Humans Will Become as Irrelevant as Cockroaches BYG Publishing Inc. 2015 ISBN 978-0-9852321-7-7
How "God" Works: A Logical Inquiry on Faith Sterling Ethos 2016 ISBN 1454910615
The Doomsday Book: The Science Behind Humanity's Greatest Threats Union Square Co. 2020 ISBN 1454939966

Television Shows[edit]

  • Factory Floor with Marshall Brain (2008) – Host
  • Who Knew? With Marshall Brain (2008) – Host


  1. ^ a b c d "Getting To Know…Marshall Brain". Carolina Country. Retrieved 2022-01-29.
  2. ^ a b c d e Washburn, Mark (March 22, 2008). "TV's Whiz on how stuff works". The Charlotte Observer. p. E1. Retrieved January 28, 2022 – via
  3. ^ Who Knew? With Marshall Brain (Documentary), Atlas Media, 2008-03-13, retrieved 2022-01-29
  4. ^ a b "Factory Floor with Marshall Brain". Atlas Media Corp. Retrieved 2022-02-10.
  5. ^ "Sultan of Stuff", Rensselaer Magazine, June 2002.
  6. ^ Washburn, Mark (March 22, 2008). "He's Made a Career of Marveling at Science". The Charlotte Observer. p. 7E. Retrieved January 28, 2022 – via
  7. ^ a b Manjoo, Farhad. "Welcome to the machine?" Archived 2006-07-14 at the Wayback Machine, Salon, 18 September 2003.
  8. ^ a b "50 Best Websites: Information and Reference: HowStuffWorks",, 2002.
  9. ^ a b Guernsey, Lisa. "For One Web Site, Some Explaining to Do", The New York Times, 24 May 2001.
  10. ^ Nilson, Kim (September 2, 2002). "HowStuffWorks sold to vulture fund". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  11. ^ "How Stuff Works : Programs : Discovery Channel: Discovery Press Web". Retrieved 2022-01-29.
  12. ^ a b c Hooley, Danny (March 31, 2008). "Brain Gets New Show". The News and Observer. p. E1. Retrieved January 28, 2022 – via
  13. ^ a b "Marshall Brain II • Electrical and Computer Engineering". Electrical and Computer Engineering. North Carolina State University. Retrieved 2022-01-29.
  14. ^ CNN interview with Kyra Phillips, CNN, August 15, 2003.
  15. ^ a b Glasner, Joanna (2003-08-05), "How robots will steal your job", Wired Magazine.
  16. ^ a b c Creager, Reid (December 28, 2015). "Do Robots Own Your Future?". The Charlotte Observer. p. A10. Retrieved January 28, 2022 – via
  17. ^ "Welcome to EcoPRT at NC State". EcoPRT. Retrieved 2022-02-11.
  18. ^ Ohnesorge, Lauren (July 2, 2018). "These Triangle Startups Aim to Innovate Transportation". Triangle Business Journal.
  19. ^ Brain, Marshall. "Is God Real or is he Imaginary?". Why Won't God Heal Amputeess. Retrieved 2022-01-29.
  20. ^ Menconi, David (April 15, 2018). "March for Science Returns with Message for Trump". The News and Observer . p. C5. Retrieved January 28, 2022 – via