Frank Boyer Salisbury grew up in Springville and Salt Lake City, Utah. After a year in the Army Air Force, he served as a missionary in Switzerland. As a teenager, he led hikes and taught nature and crafts at two scout camps, where he began a lifelong fascination with biology in general and botany in particularas well as with all the physical sciences.
After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in botany and biochemistry at the University of Utah, he earned his doctorate in plant physiology and geochemistry in 1955 at the California Institute of Technology. After teaching ecology, general biology, and other subjects at Pomona College for one year, he spent eleven years at Colorado State University before moving in 1966 to Utah State University to become the department head of the newly organized Plant Science Department in the College of Agriculture. He resigned as department head after four years to spend more time writing, continuing at Utah State for a total of thirty-one years.
He has written or cowritten fourteen books, including a basic text in plant physiology that went through four editions and was translated into several languages. His two books on science and religion are Truth: by Reason and by Revelation and The Creation. His research projects have involved the physiology of flowering, plant growth under snow, plant growth in controlled environments (to provide food and oxygen for astronauts), and plant responses to gravity. He led a project to grow wheat in the Russian space station Mir. He spent sabbaticals in Germany, Austria, and Israel (at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem). He also took a leave of absence for a year with the Atomic Energy Commission (now DOE).
Salisbury retired in 1997, and with his wife, L. Marilyn Olson, served in the Ohio Columbus Mission, after which they returned to live in Salt Lake City, where he has since been working on writing projects. They are the parents of seven children. He is now married to Mary Thorpe Salisbury.