Fans of science fiction literature will know the name as one of the fathers of the genre. He ranks up there with Asimov, Bradbury. Heinlein and others of that ilk. Many North American fans of the genre may not know who he is, but Europeans do.
Born on September 12, 1921, in Lwów, Poland, Lem was raised Roman Catholic but derived from Jewish ancestry and as such, fled his homeland during Nazi occupation to avoid a fate in the death camps.
Lem with toy cosmonaut (Wikipedia photo)
One of his most popular books, Solaris, has thrice been made into feature films, the last one in 2002 starring George Clooney. He's equally famous for his book The Cyberiad.
The Google search engine today put up a doodle-game dedicated to the late writer (he died in 2006) for its European visitors. It's an ambitious, amazing, multi-level cartoon/puzzle game based on The Cyberiad, its characters and storylines, which today turned 60. Google artists have outdone themselves. Sit back and enjoy.