Randall Patrick Munroe (born October 17, 1984) is an American cartoonist, author, and the creator of the webcomic xkcd. He and the webcomic have developed a cult following, and after leaving NASA, he became a professional webcomic artist.Munroe was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, and raised as a Quaker. He was a fan of the funny pages in newspapers from an early age, starting off with Calvin and Hobbes. After graduating from the Chesterfield County Mathematics and Science High School at Clover Hill, a Renaissance Program, he graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2006 with a degree in physics.Munroe worked as an Independent contracting roboticist for NASA at the Langley Research Center before and after his graduation. In October 2006 NASA did not renew his contract and he began to write xkcd full-time.xkcd is primarily a stick figure comic with themes in computer science, technology, mathematics, science, philosophy, language, pop culture and romance.Munroe had originally used xkcd as an instant messaging screenname because he wanted a name without a meaning so he would not eventually grow tired of it. He registered the domain name, but left it idle until he started posting his drawings in September 2005. The webcomic quickly became very popular, garnering up to 70 million hits a month by October 2007. Munroe has said, "I think the comic that's gotten me the most feedback is actually the one about the stoplights".Munroe now supports himself by the sale of xkcd-related merchandise, primarily thousands of t-shirts a month. He licenses his xkcd creations under the Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial 2.5, stating that it is not just about the free culture movement, but that it also makes good business sense.In 2010, he published a collection of the comics. He has also toured the lecture circuit, giving speeches at such places as Google's Googleplex in Mountain View, California.The popularity of the strip among science fiction fans resulted in Munroe being nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist in 2011 and again in 2012. In 2014, he won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story for Time.Munroe is the creator of the now defunct websites "The Funniest", "The Cutest", and "The Fairest", each of which presents users with two options and asks them to choose one over the other.He started the "WetRiffs" website as a joke, one month after drawing the "Rule 34" comic, "lamenting the lack of guitar-in-the-shower pictures on the internet."LimerickDB encouraged the creation of new and the collection of old limericks, but is no longer accessible.He started a Geohashing wiki based on one of his comics which contains an algorithm that generates pseudo-random coordinates around the world every day.He has also started a project called "What if?", where users post questions to the website, usually absurd and related to math or physics, and he answers them using his own knowledge as well as various sources from the web. In 2014, he published a collection of some of the responses in a book called What if? : serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions.In response to concerns about the radioactivity released by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, and to remedy what he described as "confusing" reporting on radiation levels in the media, Munroe created a chart of comparative radiation exposure levels. The chart was rapidly adopted by print and online journalists in several countries, including being linked to by online writers for The Guardian and The New York Times. As a result of requests for permission to reprint the chart and to translate it into Japanese, Munroe placed it in the public domain, but requested that his non-expert status should be clearly stated in any reprinting.Munroe published an xkcd-style comic on scientific publishing and open access in Science in October 2013.Munroe's book Thing Explainer, announced in May 2015 and published late that year, explains concepts using only the 1,000 most common English words.In September 2013, Munroe announced that a group of xkcd readers had submitted his name as a candidate for the renaming of asteroid (4942) 1987 DU6 to 4942 Munroe. The name was accepted by the International Astronomical Union.As of May 2008[update], Munroe lived in Somerville, Massachusetts. In June 2011, Munroe announced that his fiancée had been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, and in September, he announced that they had married.Munroe enjoys kite photography, in which cameras are attached to kites and pictures are then taken of the ground or buildings.