Robert M. Pirsig was an accomplished American author best known for his philosophical novel, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Born in 1928 in Minneapolis, Pirsig had a remarkable IQ of 170, and by age 15, he was already a biochemistry student at the university. His first novel, published in 1974, was widely recognized as a classic of popular philosophy and has sold millions of copies worldwide. It explores the metaphysics of quality through a cross-country motorcycle journey that the author undertook with his son. Pirsig received Guggenheim and Danforth Fellowships for his work. He passed away in 2017.