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The UK- born Sheffield was a physicist known for his writing in science fiction and science. A former President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writes of America and the American Astronautical Society, he won the Nebula and Hugo awards for his novelette "Georgia on My Mind."
His fiction writing didnt begin until he was nearly 40, and his intention was to sell three stories, just to prove that he could, and then stop forever. He published 27 novels and 6 short story collections.