Yakov Isidorovich Perelman (
Russian: Яков Исидорович Перельман; December 4, 1882 – March 16, 1942) was a
Soviet science writer and author of many
popular science books, including Physics Can Be Fun and Mathematics Can Be Fun (both translated from
Russian into English).
Perelman was born in 1882 in the town of
Congress Poland. He obtained the diploma of forester from the
Imperial Forestry Institute in
Saint Petersburg, in 1909. He was influenced by
Ernst Mach and probably the Russian Machist
Alexander Bogdanov in his pedagogical approach to popularising science.
 After the success of "Physics for Entertainment", Perelman set out to produce other books, in which he showed himself to be an imaginative populariser of science. Especially popular were "Arithmetic for entertainment", "Mechanics for entertainment", "Geometry for Entertainment", "Astronomy for entertainment", "Lively Mathematics", " Physics Everywhere", and "Tricks and Amusements".
His famous books on
astronomy were translated into various languages by the erstwhile
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky thought highly of Perelman's talents and creative genius, writing of him in the preface of Interplanetary Journeys: "The author has long been known by his popular, witty and quite scientific works on physics, astronomy and mathematics, which are, moreover written in a marvelous language and are very readable."
Perelman has also authored a number of textbooks and articles in Soviet popular science magazines.
In addition to his educational and scientific writings, he also worked as an editor of science magazines, including Nature and People and In the Workshop of Nature.
Perelman died from starvation in 1942, during the German
Siege of Leningrad. The siege started at 9 September 1941 and lasted 872 days, until 27 January 1944. The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest, most destructive sieges of a major city in modern history and one of the costliest in terms of casualties (1,117,000).
His older brother Yosif was a writer who published under the pseudonym
Osip Dymov. He is not related to the Russian mathematician
Grigori Perelman, who was born in 1966 to a different Yakov Perelman.