John Michael Crichton, known as Michael Crichton, was born on October 28, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. He earned his way through Harvard University and Harvard Medical School by writing novels. One of these, The Andromeda Strain (1969), became a bestseller. After graduating summa cum laude, Crichton was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute in California before becoming a full-time writer and film director. Crichton's carefully researched novels have included Eaters of the Dead (1972), The Terminal Man (1972), The Great Train Robbery (1975), Congo (1980), Sphere (1987), Jurassic Park (1990), Rising Sun (1992), Disclosure (1994), The Lost World (1995) and Airframe (1996). He has also written non-fiction, including Five Patients: The Hospital Explained (1970), Jasper Johns (1977) and Travels (1988). In the late 1960s Crichton also wrote under the names Jeffrey Hudson and John Lange. Awards for Crichton's writing have included Writer of the Year (1970) from the Association of American Medical Writers, and two Edgar Awards (1968 and 1979) from the Mystery Writers of America. Many of Crichton's novels have been made into highly successful films, six of which he directed. He is also the creator and executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning television series ER. In addition to his writing and directorial success, his expertise in information science has enabled him to run a software company and develop a computer game.