- "Doctor Noonian Soong, my friend, happens to have been Earth's foremost robotics scientist."
- —Geordi La Forge to Data, 2364[src]
Noonien Soong (2279-2384) was a male human in the 24th century. He was a descendant of infamous 22nd century geneticist Arik Soong, and himself one of Federation's greatest cyberneticists. (ENT episode: "Borderland"; TNG episode: "Datalore")
He was of Asian heritage, and spoke Mandarin Chinese. Although his field of expertise was cybernetics and computer technology, he was also skilled in mathematics and physics and was a trivia buff on Terran science fiction. (FASA RPG module: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual)
His early career as a cyberneticist
Soong was a devoted follower of the late Richard Daystrom, and worked closely with Daystrom's son at Daystrom Data Concepts until he received a grant to study on Cygnus. While there, he set his sights on the dream of building an "independent thinking machine," though he could not afford to do this, so he continued working at the Cygnian Institute For Advanced Cybernetics.
Soong was once a highly regarded scientist, but was disgraced after his failure to produce a promised, working positronic brain. The Institute was so ashamed of him that they dropped him from the faculty by "promoting" him to Professor Emeritus and withdrew all funding from his projects. (FASA RPG module: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual) In essence, this meant forced retirement.
He migrates to Omicron Theta
Rather than accept such forced retirement, however, the angered Soong gathered a band of similarly displeased scientists and decided to start a science colony of their own on Omicron Theta, Science Colony 4457-Delta. Soong disappeared from public sight then, and traveled under an assumed name to the colony world where he continued his research. (FASA RPG module: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual; TNG episode: "Datalore")
While at the colony, Soong met a young woman named Juliana O'Donnell, and the two soon fell in love with each other. Her mother disapproved of the relationship, but in 2328, Juliana and Soong left the colony for several days in order to get married on Mavala IV. Their witnesses included a Klingon and a Corvallen trader. Years later, Data was unable to find the marriage certificate as the Mavalan government had been overthrown, but was able to verify Juliana's claim that she had been married to Soong by examining passenger ship manifests from this time period. (TNG episode: "Inheritance")
Success at last
With the assistance of his wife Juliana, Soong finally created a working positronic brain in a humanoid, android body. Soong and Juliana created at least two early androids, but their positronic matrixes were unstable and collapsed in the weeks following their activation. The android B-4 was considered seriously flawed and was also deactivated. Lore was more advanced than his elder brothers and was the most successful of the initial five, however the colonists objected to him as being "too perfect". This, combined with Lore's increasingly antisocial behavior, led Soong and Juliana to deactivate and disassemble him. Finally, Soong achieved success with the creation of Data, with which he earned the colonists' respect. With this eventual success, he no longer had the stigma of being nicknamed "Often-Wrong Soong." But that drastically turned to fear, in a Frankenstein-esque manner, when his reputation as a mad scientist (who indeed kept his promise to succeed in building a brain) was fueled by Lore's instabilities. (TNG episodes: "Datalore", "Brothers", "Inheritance"; TNG movie: Star Trek Nemesis)
Soong was presumed to have been killed in 2336, when the colony on Omicron Theta was destroyed by the Crystalline Entity. Instead, Soong and Juliana managed to escape to planet Terlina III. Tragically, Juliana was fatally injured during the attack, lingering in a coma after leaving Omicron Theta. To save her in some form, Soong built an advanced android body and had his wife's memories and personality transferred into its positronic brain. (TNG episodes: "Brothers", "Inheritance")
The Juliana replica later divorced and left Soong, only a year before he perfected the emotion chip. At some point, Soong had a natural son, Altan Inigo Soong.(TNG episode: "Inheritance"; TNG short story: "Life's Work"; PIC episode: "Et in Arcadia Ego")
Upon perfecting this emotion chip, Soong activated a homing device which compelled Data to hijack the USS Enterprise-D to Terlina III. Data was unaware of not only Soong's hiding but also his scrutiny of him-which the Dr. called him a "celebrity" in the field of cybernetics. However, unbeknownst to Soong, the same signal summoned the re-activated Lore, who posed as Data, in order to steal the new emotion chip. Soon after this incident, Lore murdered his "father," (much as the Frankenstein "monster" had ended up destroying his own creator), and Dr. Noonien Soong died. (TNG episode: "Brothers")
In 2384, Noonien Soong resurfaced on the planet Galor IV. He was identified upon being spotted by a sensor system in the capitol city. Having appeared in the wake of an assault of the Daystrom Institute Annex, an attack which occurred in order to steal the Soong-type androids housed there. The crew of the USS Enterprise-E attempted to capture and question the person who appeared to be a younger Noonien Soong. After knocking out several security teams dispatched from the Enterprise to capture him, he stole the landed Runabout USS Roanoke and attempted to flee orbit. Before he could leave, the Runabout was shot at by a planetary ion cannon. Moments before being struck, he beamed off the Runabout. It wasn't until the Enterprise drew out those who attacked the Annex that Soong proceeded to tail the cloaked enemy ship, all the while letting Enterprise follow him. Having successfully followed the cloaked enemy ship, Soong landed on a Class K planet after the cloaked vessel had beamed down cargo which was assumed to be the missing androids from the Annex. Soong waited at his landing site until the arrival of an Enterprise away team consisting of Geordi La Forge, Worf, Jasminder Choudhury, and Ensign Velex. At that, he began to reveal why he was at the planet and how he had survived Lore's attack. Before he began however, it was confirmed that he had transferred himself into an android's body, mostly due to the fact sensors read him as a Soong-type android. (TNG - Cold Equations novel: The Persistence of Memory)
As the away team traveled on foot to their destination, Soong elaborated on how he survived Lore's attack and subsequently transferred his mind into an android body. After the transfer was complete, Soong traveled freely under a number of aliases using an advanced starship of his own design. In order to provide himself with a cover for his research work, he opened a casino and resort with the aid of a Feringi business partner. After running the resort under an assumed name for an extended period, he sold his controlling interest in order to finance the purchase of a planet and the necessary components to build Data a new body. (TNG - Cold Equations novel: The Persistence of Memory)
In an alternate timeline, Soong was successful in developing the positronic brain and his androids (which became widespread across the Federation) were not considered sentient beings due to their incapability to reproduce. This led both to the machine race suffering from diminished rights and Doctor Soong, along with wife Juliana, campaigning for many years in order for his "children" to gain equal rights as other sentient beings. They would die in a shuttlecraft accident before they could see their children gain equality in the Federation. (TNG - Myriad Universes novel: Brave New World)
In another alternate timeline, Soong was present and able to save his "granddaughter", Lal, when she suffered a near-fatal collapse in her positronic matrix, allowing the Federation to put his androids into mass production as a potential weapon to be used against the Borg. (TNG - Myriad Universes novel: The Embrace of Cold Architects)
A group within the Daystrom Institute known as the Soong Foundation was named in his honor and sought to further develop artificial life and highly advanced technology for public use. They were also noted in campaigning for the rights of artificial lifeforms. They eventually subverted B4's mind in favor of the Data personality, and attempted to duplicate the Doctor's Mobile emitter. (Star Trek Online)
The FASA Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual mistakenly spells his name "Noonian". As it was written after the first season of TNG, it does not take into account information given in later episodes, including the revelation that he was, in fact, alive. His date of birth is derived from that source listing his age at death as "57", and says that he died when the Crystalline entity attacked in 2336. This changes the original year of 2338 laid by ST reference: Star Trek Chronology. In TNG episode: "Datalore" (set in 2364), Data claimed his discovery amongst the Omicron Theta ruins was "26 years ago."
The video game The Transinium Challenge gives his name as "Nguyen Soong".