Isaac Asimov was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University.
110 Facts About Isaac Asimov
Best known for his hard science fiction, Asimov wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as much non-fiction.
Isaac Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.
Isaac Asimov wrote on numerous other scientific and non-scientific topics, such as chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, history, biblical exegesis, and literary criticism.
Isaac Asimov was the president of the American Humanist Association.
Isaac Asimov refused early suggestions of using a more common name as a pseudonym, and believed that its recognizability helped his career.
Isaac Asimov was born in Petrovichi, Russian SFSR, on an unknown date between October 4,1919, and January 2,1920, inclusive.
Isaac Asimov's parents were Anna Rachel and Judah Isaac Asimov, a family of Russian Jewish millers.
Isaac Asimov was named Isaac after his mother's father, Isaac Berman.
Isaac Asimov wrote of his father, "My father, for all his education as an Orthodox Jew, was not Orthodox in his heart", noting that "he didn't recite the myriad prayers prescribed for every action, and he never made any attempt to teach them to me".
Isaac Asimov's family travelled to the United States via Liverpool on the RMS Baltic, arriving on February 3,1923 when he was three years old.
Isaac Asimov's parents spoke Yiddish and English to him; he never learned Russian, his parents using it as a secret language "when they wanted to discuss something privately that my big ears were not to hear".
Isaac Asimov's mother got him into first grade a year early by claiming he was born on September 7,1919.
Isaac Asimov became a naturalized US citizen in 1928 at the age of eight.
The candy stores sold newspapers and magazines, which Isaac Asimov credited as a major influence in his lifelong love of the written word, as it presented him with an unending supply of new reading material as a child that he could not have otherwise afforded.
Isaac Asimov began reading science fiction at age nine, at the time that the genre was becoming more science-centered.
Isaac Asimov was a frequent patron of the Brooklyn Public Library during his formative years.
Isaac Asimov attended New York City public schools from age five, including Boys High School in Brooklyn.
Originally a zoology major, Isaac Asimov switched to chemistry after his first semester because he disapproved of "dissecting an alley cat".
In between earning these two degrees, Isaac Asimov spent three years during World War II working as a civilian chemist at the Philadelphia Navy Yard's Naval Air Experimental Station, living in the Walnut Hill section of West Philadelphia from 1942 to 1945.
Isaac Asimov served for almost nine months before receiving an honorable discharge on July 26,1946.
The initial offer of professorship was withdrawn and Isaac Asimov was offered the position of instructor of biochemistry instead, which he accepted.
Isaac Asimov began work in 1949 with a $5,000 salary, maintaining this position for several years.
In December 1957, Isaac Asimov was dismissed from his teaching post, with effect from June 30,1958, because he had stopped doing research.
Isaac Asimov declined on the grounds that his ability to write freely would be impaired should he receive classified information, but submitted a paper to DARPA titled "On Creativity" containing ideas on how government-based science projects could encourage team members to think more creatively.
Isaac Asimov met his first wife, Gertrude Blugerman, on a blind date on February 14,1942, and married her on July 26.
The couple lived in an apartment in West Philadelphia while Asimov was employed at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
In 1970, they separated and Isaac Asimov moved back to New York, this time to the Upper West Side of Manhattan where he lived for the rest of his life.
Isaac Asimov began seeing Janet O Jeppson, a psychiatrist and science-fiction writer, and married her on November 30,1973, two weeks after his divorce from Gertrude.
Isaac Asimov was afraid of flying, doing so only twice: once in the course of his work at the Naval Air Experimental Station and once returning home from Oahu in 1946.
Isaac Asimov was an able public speaker and was regularly hired to give talks about science.
Isaac Asimov was a frequent participant at science fiction conventions, where he was friendly and approachable.
Isaac Asimov patiently answered tens of thousands of questions and other mail with postcards and was pleased to give autographs.
Isaac Asimov took to wearing bolo ties after his wife Janet objected to his clip-on bow ties.
Isaac Asimov never learned to swim or ride a bicycle, but learned to drive a car after he moved to Boston.
Isaac Asimov was a prominent member of The Baker Street Irregulars, the leading Sherlock Holmes society, for whom he wrote an essay arguing that Professor Moriarty's work "The Dynamics of An Asteroid" involved the willful destruction of an ancient, civilized planet.
Isaac Asimov was a member of the male-only literary banqueting club the Trap Door Spiders, which served as the basis of his fictional group of mystery solvers, the Black Widowers.
Isaac Asimov later used his essay on Moriarty's work as the basis for a Black Widowers story, "The Ultimate Crime", which appeared in More Tales of the Black Widowers.
Isaac Asimov was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto.
Isaac Asimov's successor was his friend and fellow writer Kurt Vonnegut.
Isaac Asimov was a close friend of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and earned a screen credit as "special science consultant" on Star Trek: The Motion Picture for advice he gave during production.
Isaac Asimov was a founding member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, CSICOP and is listed in its Pantheon of Skeptics.
Isaac Asimov described Carl Sagan as one of only two people he ever met whose intellect surpassed his own.
Isaac Asimov was an on-and-off member and honorary vice president of Mensa International, albeit reluctantly; he described some members of that organization as "brain-proud and aggressive about their IQs".
Isaac Asimov died in Manhattan on April 6,1992, and was cremated.
Isaac Asimov began publishing nonfiction as co-author of a college-level textbook called Biochemistry and Human Metabolism.
Isaac Asimov believed his most enduring contributions would be his "Three Laws of Robotics" and the Foundation series.
Isaac Asimov coined the term "robotics" without suspecting that it might be an original word; at the time, he believed it was simply the natural analogue of words such as mechanics and hydraulics, but for robots.
Isaac Asimov was so prolific and diverse in his writing that his books span all major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification except for category 100, philosophy and psychology.
Isaac Asimov wrote several essays about psychology, and forewords for the books The Humanist Way and In Pursuit of Truth, which were classified in the 100s category, but none of his own books were classified in that category.
Isaac Asimov became a science fiction fan in 1929, when he began reading the pulp magazines sold in his family's candy store.
At first his father forbade reading pulps until Isaac Asimov persuaded him that because the science fiction magazines had "Science" in the title, they must be educational.
Isaac Asimov began writing at the age of 11, imitating The Rover Boys with eight chapters of The Greenville Chums at College.
Isaac Asimov's father bought him a used typewriter at age 16.
Isaac Asimov's first published work was a humorous item on the birth of his brother for Boys High School's literary journal in 1934.
Isaac Asimov's earnings became enough to pay for his education, but not yet enough for him to become a full-time writer.
Isaac Asimov expected to make chemistry his career, and was paid $2,600 annually at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, enough to marry his girlfriend; he did not expect to make much more from writing than the $1,788.50 he had earned from 28 stories sold over four years.
Isaac Asimov left science fiction fandom and no longer read new magazines, and might have left the industry had not Heinlein and de Camp been coworkers and previously sold stories has appeared.
The 2004 movie I, Robot, starring Will Smith, was based on an unrelated script by Jeff Vintar titled Hardwired, with Isaac Asimov's ideas incorporated later after the rights to Isaac Asimov's title were acquired.
At the time, Isaac Asimov was preparing his own doctoral dissertation, and for the oral examination to follow that.
Isaac Asimov grew concerned at the scrutiny he would receive at his oral examination, in case the examiners thought he wasn't taking science seriously.
Isaac Asimov later described the era as his "'mature' period".
In December 1974, former Beatle Paul McCartney approached Isaac Asimov and asked him if he could write the screenplay for a science-fiction movie musical.
Isaac Asimov adhered to McCartney's overall idea, producing a story he felt to be moving and dramatic, but did not use McCartney's brief scrap of dialogue.
Isaac Asimov greatly increased his nonfiction production, writing mostly on science topics; the launch of Sputnik in 1957 engendered public concern over a "science gap".
Isaac Asimov explained in The Rest of the Robots that he had been unable to write substantial fiction since the summer of 1958, and observers understood him as saying that his fiction career had ended, or was permanently interrupted.
Fantasy and Science Fiction invited Isaac Asimov to continue his regular nonfiction column, begun in the now-folded bimonthly companion magazine Venture Science Fiction Magazine.
Isaac Asimov encouraged other science fiction writers to write popular science, stating in 1967 that "the knowledgeable, skillful science writer is worth his weight in contracts", with "twice as much work as he can possibly handle".
Isaac Asimov coined the term "psychohistory" in his Foundation stories to name a fictional branch of science which combines history, sociology, and mathematical statistics to make general predictions about the future behavior of very large groups of people, such as the Galactic Empire.
Isaac Asimov said later that he should have called it psychosociology.
Isaac Asimov was a noted mystery author and a frequent contributor to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
Isaac Asimov began by writing science fiction mysteries such as his Wendell Urth stories, but soon moved on to writing "pure" mysteries.
Isaac Asimov published two full-length mystery novels, and wrote 66 stories about the Black Widowers, a group of men who met monthly for dinner, conversation, and a puzzle.
Isaac Asimov got the idea for the Widowers from his own association in a stag group called the Trap Door Spiders, and all of the main characters were modeled after his closest friends.
Toward the end of his life, Isaac Asimov published a series of collections of limericks, mostly written by himself, starting with Lecherous Limericks, which appeared in 1975.
Isaac Asimov even created a slim volume of Sherlockian limericks.
Isaac Asimov featured Yiddish humor in Azazel, The Two Centimeter Demon.
Janet Isaac Asimov edited It's Been a Good Life, a condensed version of his three autobiographies.
Isaac Asimov published three volumes of retrospectives of his writing, Opus 100, Opus 200, and Opus 300.
Isaac Asimov wrote a critical essay on Star Treks scientific accuracy for TV Guide magazine.
Isaac Asimov corrected himself with a follow-up essay to TV Guide claiming that despite its inaccuracies, Star Trek was a fresh and intellectually challenging science fiction television show.
In 1973, Isaac Asimov published a proposal for calendar reform, called the World Season Calendar.
Isaac Asimov won more than a dozen annual awards for particular works of science fiction and a half-dozen lifetime awards.
Isaac Asimov was his own secretary, typist, indexer, proofreader, and literary agent.
Isaac Asimov wrote a typed first draft composed at the keyboard at 90 words per minute; he imagined an ending first, then a beginning, then "let everything in-between work itself out as I come to it".
Isaac Asimov addressed such criticism in 1989 at the beginning of Nemesis:.
Isaac Asimov's words do not easily lend themselves to traditional literary criticism because he has the habit of centering his fiction on plot and clearly stating to his reader, in rather direct terms, what is happening in his stories and why it is happening.
Isaac Asimov once explained that his reluctance to write about aliens came from an incident early in his career when Astoundings editor John Campbell rejected one of his science fiction stories because the alien characters were portrayed as superior to the humans.
Isaac Asimov said that of all his writings, he was most proud of the middle section of The Gods Themselves, the part that deals with those themes.
The director criticizes the fictionalized Isaac Asimov for having an extremely nonvisual style, making it difficult to adapt his work, and the author explains that he relies on ideas and dialogue rather than description to get his points across.
Isaac Asimov claimed he wrote The Gods Themselves to respond to these criticisms, which often came from New Wave science fiction writers.
Isaac Asimov did not oppose religious conviction in others, but he frequently railed against superstitious and pseudoscientific beliefs that tried to pass themselves off as genuine science.
For many years, Isaac Asimov called himself an atheist; he considered the term somewhat inadequate, as it described what he did not believe rather than what he did.
Isaac Asimov became a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party during the New Deal, and thereafter remained a political liberal.
Isaac Asimov was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War in the 1960s and in a television interview during the early 1970s he publicly endorsed George McGovern.
Isaac Asimov was unhappy about what he considered an "irrationalist" viewpoint taken by many radical political activists from the late 1960s and onwards.
Isaac Asimov's impression was that the 1960s' counterculture heroes had ridden an emotional wave which, in the end, left them stranded in a "no-man's land of the spirit" from which he wondered if they would ever return.
Isaac Asimov vehemently opposed Richard Nixon, considering him "a crook and a liar".
Isaac Asimov closely followed Watergate, and was pleased when the president was forced to resign.
Isaac Asimov considered himself a feminist even before women's liberation became a widespread movement; he argued that the issue of women's rights was closely connected to that of population control.
Isaac Asimov issued many appeals for population control, reflecting a perspective articulated by people from Thomas Malthus through Paul R Ehrlich.
Isaac Asimov thought this would make learning more interesting, since people would have the freedom to choose what to learn, and would help spread knowledge around the world.
Isaac Asimov thought that people would live in space by 2019.
Isaac Asimov became a fan of mystery stories at the same time as science fiction.
Isaac Asimov preferred to read the former because "I read every [science fiction] story keenly aware that it might be worse than mine, in which case I had no patience with it, or that it might be better, in which case I felt miserable".
In non-fiction writing, Isaac Asimov particularly admired the writing style of Martin Gardner, and tried to emulate it in his own science books.
On meeting Gardner for the first time in 1965, Isaac Asimov told him this, to which Gardner answered that he had based his own style on Isaac Asimov's.
An extensive bibliography of Isaac Asimov's works has been compiled by Ed Seiler.
Isaac Asimov published enough that his book writing rate could be analysed, showing that the writing became faster as he wrote more.
Later in life, Isaac Asimov synthesized the Robot series into a single coherent "history" that appeared in the extension of the Foundation series.