As a child, Norman loved building things, especially airplane models made of balsa and tissue paper. At 16, he began tinkering with British sports cars.
In 1963 Norman was introduced to the world of kinetic sculpture and made his first kinetic pieces. In 1985 Joe Ansel, then on the staff of The Exploratorium, recognized that Norman's work explored elements of elementary physics, and suggested that he exhibit his work in science museums. After initial residencies at the New York Hall of Science as well as the Exploratorium, Norman's work has been primarily exhibited in science museums.
In 1994 Norman moved to San Francisco, where he currently lives and work, and he's seeking a permanent home for the pieces that are currently in his possession.
Most recently, Norman created an interactive exhibit specifically for the Tinkering Studio, called Your Turn Counts.