Sunday, September 11, 2011

August 1961: The Evens Have It

Asimov's next anecdote will come in the August 1961 issue. They are coming more frequently now, but they are not yet used in every essay.

"Some time ago I was asked (by phone) to write an article on the use of radioisotopes in industry. The gentleman doing he asking waxed enthusiastic on the importance of isotopes, but after a while I could stand it no more, for he kept pronouncing it ISS-o-topes, with a very short "i."

Finally, I said, in the most diffident manner I could muster, "EYE-so-topes, sir," giving it a very long "i".

"No, no," he said impatiently, "I'm talking about ISS-o-topes."

And so he did, to the very end, and on subsequent phone calls, too. But I fooled him. I eventually wrote an article about EYE-so-topes.

Yet it left a sore spot, for having agreed to do the article, I was forced to deal with only the practical applications of isotopes, a necessity which saddened me. There is much that is impractical about isotpes that I would like to discuss, and I will do here."

And he goes on to do so.


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