Isaac Asimov

American writer and biochemist (1920–1992)

Isaac Asimov (c. January 2, 1920[a] – April 6, 1992) was a writer of science fiction.[1] He was also a biochemist with a PhD from Columbia University.

Isaac Asimov
Native name
Russian: Айзек Азимов, romanized: Aizek Azimov
Bornc. January 2, 1920[a]
Petrovichi, Klimovichskiy Uyezd, Russian SFSR
Died April 6, 1992(1992-04-06) (aged 72)
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
OccupationWriter, professor of biochemistry
CitizenshipRussian (early years), American
Alma materColumbia University
GenreScience fiction (hard SF, social SF), mystery
SubjectPopular science, science textbooks, essays, literary criticism
Literary movementGolden Age of Science Fiction
Years active1939–1992

Scientific career
InstitutionsBoston University
ThesisThe kinetics of the reaction inactivation of tyrosinase during its catalysis of the aerobic oxidation of catechol (1948)
Doctoral advisorCharles Reginald Dawson
Other academic advisorsRobert Elderfield (post-doctoral)

Life change

Asimov was born in Petrovichi, Smolensk Oblast, Russian SFSR to a Jewish family, on an unknown date between October 4, 1919 and January 2, 1920. Asimov celebrated his birthday on January 2.[a] He was taken to the United States when he was three, and learned English and Yiddish as his native languages.[2][3][4] He wrote many books. People know about Isaac Asimov because of his science fiction books and his science books for non-scientists.

Writing change

Asimov's most famous books were the Foundation series. He also wrote the Galactic Empire, the Robot Series, mystery, fantasy, and non-fiction books. He wrote the Norby series with his wife, Janet Asimov. He wrote or edited over 500 books and about 90,000 letters. Other subjects he wrote about were history, the Bible, literature, and sexuality.

Many of Asimov's early writings were short stories published in cheap science fiction and fantasy magazines. Years later, most of them were collected and republished as collections. Well-known collections include I, Robot, The Rest of the Robots, Earth is Room Enough and The Early Asimov.

Asimov's reading list change

Asimov made a list of 15 of his science fiction books, which he advised should be read in this order:

  1. I, Robot (1950). Alternatively, The Complete Robot (1982).
  2. Caves of Steel (1954).
  3. The Naked Sun (1957).
  4. The Robots of Dawn (1983).
  5. Robots and Empire (1985).
  6. The Currents of Space (1952).
  7. The Stars, Like Dust (1951).
  8. Pebble in the Sky (1950).
  9. Prelude to Foundation (1988).
  10. Forward the Foundation (1993).
  11. Foundation (1951).
  12. Foundation and Empire (1952).
  13. Second Foundation (1953).
  14. Foundation's Edge (1982).
  15. Foundation and Earth (1986).

Numbers 1–5 are 'Robot' books; 6–8 are 'Galacticos Empire' books; 9–15 are Foundation series books.[5]

Asimov's novels have influenced science fiction on television and movie. Especially his 'Three Laws of Robotics' is a lasting contribution to our thinking.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Beliefs change

Although ethnically a Jew, Asimov was an atheist:

"I am an atheist, out and out. It took me quite a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow ... it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic".[6]

Death change

When he had heart surgery in 1983, he received blood infected with HIV. He developed AIDS, and died of the effects of the medical condition in 1992. His widow did not speak of this until years later.[7]

Related pages change

Notes change

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Asimov, Isaac. In Memory Yet Green. p. 31. The date of my birth, as I celebrate it, was January 2, 1920. It could not have been later than that. It might, however, have been earlier. Allowing for the uncertainties of the times, of the lack of records, of the Jewish and Julian calendars, it might have been as early as October 4, 1919. There is, however, no way of finding out. My parents were always uncertain and it really doesn't matter. I celebrate January 2, 1920, so let it be.

References change

  1. Isaac Asimov on IMDb
  2. Asimov, Isaac 2002. It's been a good life. Janet Asimov, ed. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. p12 ISBN 1-57392-968-9.
  3. Asimov, Isaac 1994. I. Asimov: a memoir. Bantam Books. p2–3 ISBN 0-553-56997-X
  4. Asimov, Isaac 1979. In memory yet green. Avon Books. p32 ISBN 0-380-75432-0
  5. 15-Book reading order as suggested by Asimov Archived 2006-05-16 at the Wayback Machine From "Author's Note" of Prelude to Foundation Doubleday 1988 hardcover edition.
  6. Free Inquiry (Spring 1982). Wikiquote
  7. "Letter from Janet Asimov". Locus Online. Locus Publications. 4 April 2002. Retrieved 2012-12-04.