From the Shrouded Opus: Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born American author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.
Professor Asimov is generally considered the most prolific writer of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards, and he has works published in nine of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System (lacking only an entry in the 100s category of Philosophy).
Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered one of the “Big Three” science-fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov’s most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series, both of which he later tied into the same fictional universe as the Foundation Series to create a unified “future history” for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson. He penned numerous short stories, among them “Nightfall”, which in 1964 was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time, a title many still honor. He also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as a great amount of nonfiction. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.
Most of Asimov’s popularized science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often provides nationalities, birth dates, and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms. Examples include his Guide to Science, the three volume set Understanding Physics, and Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery.
Asimov was a long-time member and Vice President of Mensa International, albeit reluctantly; he described some members of that organization as “brain-proud and aggressive about their IQs” He took more joy in being president of the American Humanist Association. The asteroid 5020 Asimov, the magazine Asimov’s Science Fiction, a Brooklyn, NY elementary school, and two different Isaac Asimov Awards are named in his honor.
Isaac Asimov Quotes
augh Report“I wish that I could say I was optimistic about the human race. I love us all, but we are so stupid and shortsighted that I wonder if we can lift our eyes to the world about us long enough not to commit suicide.”“Knowledge is indivisible. When people grow wise in one direction, they are sure to make it easier for themselves to grow wise in other directions as well. On the other hand, when they split up knowledge, concentrate on their own field, and scorn and ignore other fields, they grow less wise — even in their own field.”“Many a prophecy, by the mere force of its being believed, is transmuted to fact.”“In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.”“There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save.”“When asked for advice by beginners. Know your ending, I say, or the river of your story may finally sink into the desert sands and never reach the sea.”“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.”“Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what’s right.””