Saturday, September 09, 2006

Portrait: Issac Asimov - Wikipedia

Isaac Asimov

A photograph of Asimov taken by Jay Kay Klein
Pseudonym(s): Paul French, George E. Dale
Born: January 2, 1920
Petrovichi, Russian SFSR
Died: April 6, 1992
New York, New York, USA
Occupation(s): Novelist, short story author, essayist, historian, biochemist, textbook writer, humorist
Genre(s): Science fiction (hard SF), popular science, mystery fiction, essays, literary criticism
Literary movement: Golden Age of Science Fiction
Magnum opus: Foundation Trilogy
Influences: Clifford D. Simak
Influenced: Thomas Pynchon

Isaac Asimov, Ph.D. (c. January 2, 1920April 6, 1992, IPA: /ˈaɪzək ˈæzɪˌmɔf/, originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as Айзек Азимов) was a Russian-born American author and biochemist, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov wrote or edited more than 500 volumes and an estimated 90,000 letters or postcards, and he has works in every major category of the Dewey Decimal System except Philosophy.[1] Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered to be one of the "Big Three" science-fiction writers during his lifetime.[2] 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 Foundation Series. He also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as a great amount of non-fiction. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of books using the pen name Paul French.

Most of Asimov's popularized science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going back as far as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often gives nationalities, birth dates and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms. Examples of this style 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 of Mensa, albeit reluctantly; he described them as "intellectually combative". He took more joy in being president of the American Humanist Association. The asteroid 5020 Asimov, the magazine Asimov's Science Fiction and two different Isaac Asimov Awards are all named in his honor.


Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
  • "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."
  • "When asked what I would do 'If my doctor told me I had only six months to live' I answered 'I'd type faster'."
  • "Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers."
  • "Night was a wonderful time in Brooklyn in the 1930s. Air conditioning was unknown except in movie houses, and so was television. There was nothing to keep one in the house. Furthermore, few people owned automobiles, so there was nothing to carry one away. That left the streets and the stoops. The very fullness served as an inhibition to crime."
  • "What I will be remembered for are the Foundation Trilogy and the Three Laws of Robotics. What I want to be remembered for is no one book, or no dozen books. Any single thing I have written can be paralleled or even surpassed by something someone else has done. However, my total corpus for quantity, quality and variety can be duplicated by no one else. That is what I want to be remembered for", September 20, 1973, Yours, Isaac Asimov, page 329.
  • "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." Salvor Hardin, a character in Foundation.
  • "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it) - but 'That's funny...'"


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