Maria Popova is a Bulgarian-born writer and author, known for founding Brain Pickings, a website where she writes about culture, books, and philosophy. When she was a little child, Maria’s grandmother often read to her from a collection of encyclopedias, which influenced Maria to be curious about the world. Popova moved to the USA and studied Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. She worked 4 part-time jobs while studying, in order to pay her tuition. In 2005, she joined an advertising agency and noticed that her colleagues were sending each other info for inspiration. That’s how Maria started regularly sending emails to a few friends with five things that had nothing to do with advertising, but were interesting. Because of the popularity of the weekly emails, Popova felt that there was an intellectual hunger for that sort of cross-disciplinary curiosity and self-directed learning. That’s how Brain Pickings was born in 2006, which is included in the Library of Congress permanent digital archive of culturally valuable materials. Maria has several side projects, such as two newsletters, a sub-site where she matches quotes from books with songs called Literary Jukebox, serves as the editorial director at the higher education social network Lore, and hosts The Universe in Verse - an annual celebration of science through poetry. She's previously written for The New York Times, Wired, The Atlantic. In February 2019, her book came out: 'Figuring' explores the complexities of love and the human search for truth and meaning through the interconnected lives of several historical figures across four centuries.