Alan Nourse was born August 11, 1928 to Benjamin and Grace (Ogg) Nourse in Des Moines, Iowa. He attended high school in Long Island, New York. He served in the U.S. Navy after World War II. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951 from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. He married Ann Morton on June 11, 1952 in Linden, New Jersey. He received a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree in 1955 from the University of Pennsylvania. He served his one year internship at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Washington. He practiced medicine in North Bend, Washington from 1958 to 1963 and also pursued his writing career.