Andrew M. Ryan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1967 and raised in Lansing and Birmingham, Michigan. With an insatiable passion for the truth, Ryan naturally gravitated to philosophy, earning his bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University. Beyond his desire to understand the mind, he continues to explore many topics, including cosmology and cognitive science. Ryan is the author of The Substance of Spacetime: Infinity, Nothingness, and the Nature of Matter and maintains a blog titled “UNReason“. He has a daughter and lives with his wife in Northern Virginia.
Ryan received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in 1991. In his master’s thesis, Blind Minds: Phenomenology of Perception and the Failures of Artificial Intelligence, Ryan explores the incongruity between efforts to describe the brain in terms of binary logic and the inherently non-logical nature of man’s perceptual world. Indeed, this insight — that both man and his world are fundamentally non-logical — has been a recurrent theme in both his novel and work in cosmology.
While in college, Ryan’s need to know the truth went well beyond his books and classes. To better understand the mind, and particularly mental illness, he took a position as a mental health technician at the River West Medical Center. After years of purely academic study, he needed to see it firsthand. Most of the patients he worked with suffered from acute schizophrenia. He learned a great deal about this illness, getting to know the patients and hearing their stories, to the point of being nearly able to “see” the delusions and hallucinations that plagued them.
Ryan served as a Sergeant in the Army National Guard for six years and is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, stationed in Saudi Arabia. He never planned to have a military career, and his rationale for joining was the college tuition benefits. But in retrospect, he often credits basic training and his service as a much needed “kick-in-the-pants” and one of the best choices he would make in shaping him as a young man.
Following college, Ryan moved to Leesburg, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. where he applied his writing and analytical training to federal proposal management. In this role, he has worked on many teams and managed winning proposals ranging from a few hundred thousand to several hundred million dollars.