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Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov

The author of nearly five hundred books, Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) is esteemed as one of the finest writers of science fiction and scientific fact in the twentieth century.

Asimov was born on January 2, 1920, to middle-class Jewish parents in Petrovichi, Russia, then part of the Smolensk district in the Soviet Union. His family immigrated to the United States in 1923, settling in Brooklyn, New York, where they owned and operated a candy store. In 1934, while attending Boys High School of Brooklyn, Asimov published his first story, "Little Brothers," in the school newspaper. A year later he entered Seth Low Junior College, an undergraduate college of Columbia University. He transferred to the main campus in 1936, where he switched his major from biology to chemistry. During the next two years Asimov's interest in history grew and he read numerous books on the subject. He also read science fiction magazines and wrote stories. His first professionally published story, "Marooned off Vesta," appeared in Amazing Stories in 1939. Asimov graduated from Columbia University with a B.S. in chemistry in 1939. He later earned an M.A. and Ph.D. After serving in World War II, Asimov became an instructor at Boston University School of medicine. Asimov died in 1992.

Asimov received his greatest popular and critical acclaim for The Foundation Trilogy: Three Classics of Science Fiction and his robot series. Comprised of Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation, The Foundation Trilogy describes the "future history" of a vast galactic empire. His books about robots—most notably I, Robot;The Caves of Steel; and The Naked Sun—did much to legitimize science fiction by augmenting the genre's traditional material with the narrative structures of such established genres as mystery and detective stories, while displaying a thematic concern for technological progress and its implications for humanity. Many critics, scientists, and educators, however, believe Asimov's greatest talent was for popularizing or, as he called it, "translating" science for the lay reader. His many books on atomic theory, chemistry, astronomy, and physics have been recognized for their extraordinary clarity, and Asimov has been praised for his ability to synthesize complex data into readable, unthreatening prose. When asked about his prodigious output in such a wide range of fields, Asimov responded self-deprecatingly by saying he never had a thought that he didn't put down on paper. An editorial in The Washington Post concluded that he redefined the rule "as to how many things a person is allowed to be an expert on" and that his "extraordinary capabilities aside, [his] breadth of interest deserves more admiration than it gets."

Isaac Asimov is "the world's most prolific science writer," according to David N. Samuelson in Twentieth Century Science-Fiction Writers, who "has written some of the best-known science fiction ever published." Considered one of the three greatest writers of science fiction in the 1940s (along with Robert Heinlein and A. E. Van Vogt), Asimov has remained a potent force in the genre. Stories such as "Nightfall" and "The Bicentennial Man," and novels such as The Gods Themselves and Foundation's Edge have received numerous honors and are recognized as among the best science fiction ever written. As one of the world's leading writers on science, explaining everything from nuclear fusion to the theory of numbers, Asimov has illuminated for many the mysteries of science and technology. He is a skilled raconteur as well, who enlivens his writing with incidents from his own life. "In his autobiographical writings and comments," states James Gunn in Isaac Asimov: The Foundations of Science Fiction, "Asimov continually invites the reader to share his triumphs, to laugh at his blunders and lack of sophistication, and to wonder, with him, at the rise to prominence of a bright Jewish boy brought to this country from Russia at the age of three and raised in a collection of Brooklyn candy stores."

Asimov's interest in science fiction began when he first noticed several of the early science fiction magazines for sale on the newsstand of his family's candy store. Although as a boy he read and enjoyed numerous volumes of nonfiction as well as many of the literary "classics," Asimov recalls in In Memory Yet Green, his first volume of autobiography, he still longed to explore the intriguing magazines with the glossy covers. But his father refused, maintaining that fiction magazines were "junk! … Not fit to read. The only people who read magazines like that are bums." And bums represented "the dregs of society, apprentice gangsters."

But in August of 1929, a new magazine appeared on the scene called Science Wonder Stories. Asimov knew that as long as science fiction magazines had titles like Amazing Stories, he would have little chance of convincing his father of their worth. However, the new periodical had the word "science" in its title, and he says, "I had read enough about science to know that it was a mentally nourishing and spiritually wholesome study. What's more, I knew that my father thought so from our occasional talks about my school-work." When confronted with this argument, the elder Asimov consented. Soon Isaac began collecting even those periodicals that didn't have "science" in the title. He notes: "I planned to maintain with all the strength at my disposal the legal position that permission for one such magazine implied permission for all the others, regardless of title. No fight was needed, however; my harassed father conceded everything." Asimov rapidly developed into an avid fan.

Asimov first tried writing stories when he was eleven years old. He had for some time been reading stories and then retelling them to his schoolmates, and started a book like some of the popular boys' series volumes of the 1920s: "The Rover Boys," "The Bobbsey Twins," and "Pee Wee Wilson." Asimov's story was called The Greenville Chums at College, patterned after The Darewell Chums at College, and it grew to eight chapters before he abandoned it. Asimov, in In Memory Yet Green, describes the flaw in his initial literary venture: "I was trying to imitate the series books without knowing anything but what I read there. Their characters were small-town boys, so mine were, for I imagined Greenville to be a town in upstate New York. Their characters went to college, so mine did. Unfortunately, a junior-high-school youngster living in a shabby neighborhood in Brooklyn knows very little about small-town life and even less about college. Even I, myself, was forced eventually to recognize the fact that I didn't know what I was talking about."

Despite initial discouragements, Asimov continued to write. His first published piece appeared in his high school's literary semiannual and was accepted, he says, because it was the only funny piece anyone wrote, and the editors needed something funny. In the summer of 1934, Asimov had a letter published in Astounding Stories in which he commented on several stories that had appeared in the magazine. His continuing activities as a fan brought him to the decision to attempt a science fiction piece of his own; in 1937, at the age of seventeen, he began a story entitled "Cosmic Corkscrew." The procedure Asimov used to formulate the plot was, he says, "typical of my science fiction. I usually thought of some scientific gimmick and built a story about that."

By the time he finished the story on June 19, 1938, Astounding Stories had become Astounding Science Fiction. Its editor was John W. Campbell, who was to influence the work of some of the most prominent authors of modern science fiction, including Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson, L. Sprague de Camp, and Theodore Sturgeon. Since Campbell was also one of the best-known science fiction writers of the thirties and Astounding one of the most prestigious publications in its field at the time, Asimov was shocked by his father's suggestion that he submit "Cosmic Corkscrew" to the editor in person. But mailing the story would have cost twelve cents while subway fare, round trip, was only ten cents. In the interest of economy, therefore, he agreed to make the trip to the magazine's office, fully expecting to leave the manuscript with a secretary.

Campbell, however, had invited many young writers to discuss their work with him, and when Asimov arrived he was shown into the editor's office. Campbell talked for over an hour and agreed to read the story; two days later Asimov received the manuscript back in the mail. It had been rejected, but Campbell offered extensive suggestions for improvement and encouraged the young man to keep trying. This began a pattern that was to continue for several years with Campbell guiding Asimov through his formative beginnings as a science fiction writer.

Asimov's association with the field of science fiction has been a long and distinguished one. He is credited with the introduction of several innovative concepts into the genre, including the formulation of the "Three Laws of Robotics." Asimov maintains that the idea for the laws was given to him by Campbell; Campbell, on the other hand, said that he had merely picked them out of Asimov's early robot stories. In any case, it was Asimov who first formally stated the three laws: "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 the orders given 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 Laws." Asimov says that he used these precepts as the basis for "over two dozen short stories and three novels … about robots," and he feels that he is "probably more famous for them than for anything else I have written, and they are quoted even outside the science-fiction world. The very word 'robotics' was coined by me." The three laws gained general acceptance among readers and among other science fiction writers; Asimov, in his autobiography, writes that they "revolutionized" science fiction and that "no writer could write a stupid robot story if he used the Three Laws. The story might be bad on other counts, but it wouldn't be stupid." The laws became so popular, and seemed so logical, that many people believed real robots would eventually be designed according to Asimov's basic principles.

Also notable among Asimov's science fiction works is the "Foundation" series. This group of short stories, published in magazines in the forties and then collected into a trilogy in the early fifties, was inspired by Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. It was written as a "future history," a story being told in a society of the distant future which relates events of that society's history. The concept was not invented by Asimov, but there can be little doubt that he became a master of the technique. Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation have achieved special standing among science fiction enthusiasts. In 1966, the World Science Fiction Convention honored them with a special Hugo Award as the best all-time science fiction series. Even many years after the original publication, Asimov's future history series remains popular—in the 1980s, forty years after he began the series, Asimov added a new volume, Foundation's Edge, and eventually linked the Foundation stories with his robot novels in The Robots of Dawn, Robots and Empire, Foundation and Earth, and Prelude to Foundation.

Asimov's first fiction written specifically for a younger audience were his "Lucky Starr" novels. In 1951, at the suggestion of his Doubleday editor, he began working on a series of science-fiction stories that could easily be adapted for television. "Television was here; that was clear," he writes in In Memory Yet Green. "Why not take advantage of it, then? Radio had its successful long-running series, 'The Lone Ranger,' so why not a 'Space Ranger' modelled very closely upon that?" David Starr: Space Ranger, published under the pseudonym Paul French, introduced David 'Lucky' Starr, agent of the interplanetary law enforcement agency the Council of Science. Accompanying Lucky on his adventures is his sidekick, John Bigman Jones, a short, tough man born and raised on the great agricultural farms of Mars. Together the two of them confront and outwit space pirates, poisoners, mad scientists, and interstellar spies—humans from the Sirian star system, who have become the Earth's worst enemies.

Although the "Lucky Starr" series ran to six volumes, the television deal that Asimov and his editor envisioned never materialized. "None of us dreamed that for some reason… television series would very rarely last more than two or three years," Asimov writes. "We also didn't know that a juvenile television series to be called 'Rocky Jones: Space Ranger' was already in the works." Another problem the series faced was in the scientific background of the stories. "Unfortunately," state Jean Fiedler and Jim Mele in Isaac Asimov, "Asimov had the bad luck to be writing these stories on the threshold of an unprecedented exploration of our solar system's planets, an exploration which has immensely increased our astronomical knowledge. Many of his scientific premises, sound in 1952, were later found to be inaccurate." In recent editions of the books, Asimov has included forewords explaining the situation to new readers.

Asimov's first nonfiction book was a medical text entitled Biochemistry and Human Metabolism, begun in 1950 and written in collaboration with William Boyd and Burnham Walker, two of his colleagues at the Boston University School of Medicine. He had recognized his ability as an explainer early in life, and he enjoyed clarifying scientific principles for his family and friends. He also discovered that he was a most able and entertaining lecturer who delighted in his work as a teacher. He told New York Times interviewer Israel Shenker that his talent lies in the fact that he "can read a dozen dull books and make one interesting book out of them." The result was that Asimov was phenomenally successful as a writer of science books for the general public. Before his death in 1992, Asimov commented, "I'm on fire to explain, and happiest when it's something reasonably intricate which I can make clear step by step. It's the easiest way I can clarify things in my own mind."

Further Reading

Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1992.

New York Times, April 7, 1992.

Washington Post, April 7, 1992.

Asimov, Isaac, The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories, Doubleday, 1976.

Asimov, Isaac, In Memory Yet Green: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1920-1954, Doubleday, 1979.

Asimov, Isaac, In Joy Still Felt: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1954-1979, Doubleday, 1980.

Clareson, Thomas D., editor, Voices for the Future: Essays on Major Science Fiction Writers, Popular Press, 1976.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale, Volume 1, 1973; Volume 3, 1975; Volume 9, 1978; Volume 19, 1981; Volume 26, 1983.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 8: Twentieth-Century American Science Fiction Writers, Gale, 1981. □

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Asimov, Isaac

Asimov, Isaac

American Science Fiction Writer
19201992

Isaac Asimov was arguably the single most important fiction author to treat the subject of computers. Also one of the preeminent science writers in America during his lifetime, he applied discipline, intellect, smooth storytelling, and insight to all of his work. He wrote or edited more than 500 books and innumerable articles. His novels and stories dazzled the public with a visionary glimpse of the future of computing. He also changed forever the way that robots were imagined as a positive influence in human society.

A paradox in person, he was a gentleman who pretended to be a playboy, a witty and entertaining "life of the party," who led a fairly solitary writer's lifetyping 90 words per minute, 10 hours a day, 363 days per year, and selling every word. He was a loving and loyal man, who became estranged from his son and his first wife. He had a profound understanding of the world, rarely traveled, and, though his fiction is filled with spaceships, he never once flew in an airplane.

Asimov was born January 2, 1920 (some sources cite October 4, 1919), in Petrovichi, Russia. He emigrated to the United States with his parents when he was three, and taught himself to read at the age of five. He exhibited an early interest in science and would later write voluminously on the topic. As an academic, Asimov earned a B.S. in chemistry from Columbia University in 1939, an M.A. in 1941, and a Ph.D. in 1948. He taught at Boston University School of Medicine in 1949, was associate professor of biochemistry from 1955 to 1979, and became full professor in 1979, although he stopped teaching full time in 1958.

In his work, Asimov was influenced by science writer, historian, and science fiction author H.G. Wells and by Jules Verne, whom he admired as one of the first writers able to make a living while specializing in science fiction. Asimov sought knowledge and success in multiple fields of interest. He almost majored in history, but settled on chemistry. He later published books on history, and his historical view colored both his nonfiction and fiction, especially in the fields of computers and robotics. Asimov's "Foundation" series, with a future human culture spanning 25 million planets, was explicitly modeled on Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. His fictional "Psychohistory" proposes mathematical prediction of future human events; but his final stories show that he was skeptical of this idea.

Asimov ended his biochemistry professorship to become a full-time writer. As a nonfiction author, he covered dozens of fields, including astronomy, biology, chemistry, math, poetry, music, Sherlock Holmes, the Bible, and William Shakespeare. As a fiction author he concentrated on science fiction and on the mystery/detective genre, sometimes combining both in the same story.

Asimov wrote stories that are as thought-provoking today as they were when he wrote them. Among them is the 8,600-word short story, "A Feeling of Power," first published in 1958. In the work, Asimov predicted widespread use of a handheld programmable calculator, multicolored for civilians, blue-steel for the military. But he set the scenario 400 years in the future, after the art of doing arithmetic by pencil and paper had been lost. In the story a lone genius re-invents manual math, and then commits suicide when the military takes over his research. Interestingly, Asimov's prediction concerning the advent of handheld calculating hardware and software was flawless. But the technology was available within two decades, rather than in 400 years.

The "Multivac" stories of Asimov spin ideas about the infinite future of computing. Among several examples are: "The Last Question," a 5,400-word story from 1956, in which a computer ponders humans' ultimate question, and eventually merges with humanity, acquires god-like power, travels back in time, and creates the universe; "The Machine that Won the War," a 2,100-word story from 1961; and "The Life and Times of Multivac," published in 1975 by the New York Times Magazine. In the latter, the Multivac computer benignly takes control of all government and economic power, to save people from themselves.

Asimov once described science fiction as "that branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advance upon human beings." Asimov took that definition seriously, and wrote many millions of words to prove his point. He is credited with coining the word "robotics" from the word "robot," which was itself coined by the Czech playwright Karel Capek from the Slavic root for "worker," in the 1923 play "R.U.R." (Rossum's Universal Robots). The word "robotics" is the accepted name for an actual academic and industrial discipline that focuses on the study, design, manufacturing, and application of robots in a variety of settings.

Numerous anthologies of computer and robot stories were published during the 1950s, including Isaac Asimov's I, Robot, 1950; Henry Kuttner's Robots Have No Tails, 1952; Martin Greenberg's The Robot and the Man, 1953; Groff Conklin's Science Fiction Thinking Machines, 1954; and Lester del Rey's Robots and Changelings, 1957. Yet today, it is Asimov more than any author who comes to mind when the word "robot" is spoken, in fiction or otherwise.

Asimov received numerous awards, including several Hugo Awards and multiple Nebula Awards. His novel The End of Eternity (1955) was selected and praised in Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels, by David Pringle.

Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics

Asimov is arguably most famous and influential for what has become known as Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, with credit to editor John Campbell, who codified them from Asimov's fiction. These edicts are as follows:

  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 the orders given 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 and Second Laws.

Asimov explored the implications of these three laws in clever and meaningful ways, in at least twenty-nine short stories, spread over five short story collections, and in several novels. The Caves of Steel, which appeared in 1954, was a murder mystery that sketched a fascinating speculation on the utopian sociology of an automated future. In the 1945 story "Paradoxical Escape," everything people know about physics, astronomy, and "space warp theory" is input to a mechanical computer called the Brain. This robotic "character" invents Faster Than Light travel, but since it would be fatal to humans, the robotic computer wipes blank its memory. Other computers (robots) had also discovered this, as well, but Asimov's First Law of Robotics prohibited them from telling this to humans, as the knowledgeor rather, the likelihood that they would use itwould harm them. They burned out, rather than pass on the dangerous secret.

Isaac Asimov was not an inventor or creator of computer hardware or software. Nevertheless, his fictional portrayals of the relationship between computers and human beings had an impact on the development and integration of computer technology in modern society. His commentaries on the sociological and psychological effects of computerization on human society will, in all likelihood, continue to influence computer science scholars and enthusiasts.

see also Artificial Intelligence; Fiction, Computers in; Robots.

Jonathan Vos Post

Bibliography

Asimov, Isaac. Asimov on Science Fiction. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981. Asimov,

Isaac. In Joy Still Felt: Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 19541978. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1980.

Asimov, Isaac. In Memory Yet Green: Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 19201954. New York: Doubleday, 1979.

Asimov, Isaac. Understanding Physics. New York: Walker, 1966.

Bretnor, Reginald. Modern Science Fiction; Its Meaning and Its Future. Chicago: Advent Publishers, 1979.

Internet Resources

Rothstein, Mervyn. "Isaac Asimov, Whose Thoughts and Books Traveled the Universe, Is Dead at 72." New York Times. <http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/03/23/lifetimes/asi-v-obit.html>

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Asimov, Isaac

Isaac Asimov

Born: January 2, 1920
Petrovichi, Russia, Soviet Union
Died: April 6, 1992
New York, New York

Russian-born American writer

The author of nearly five hundred books, Isaac Asimov was one of the finest writers of science fiction in the twentieth century. Many, however, believe Asimov's greatest talent was for, as he called it, "translating" science, making it understandable and interesting for the average reader.

Early life

Isaac Asimov was born on January 2, 1920, in Petrovichi, Russia, then part of the Smolensk district in the Soviet Union. He was the first of three children of Juda and Anna Rachel Asimov. Although his father made a good living, changing political conditions led the family to leave for the United States in 1923. The Asimovs settled in Brooklyn, New York, where they owned and operated a candy store. Asimov was an excellent student who skipped several grades. In 1934 he published his first story in a high school newspaper. A year later he entered Seth Low Junior College, an undergraduate college of Columbia University. In 1936 he transferred to the main campus and changed his major from biology to chemistry. During the next two years Asimov's interest in history grew, and he read numerous books on the subject. He also read science fiction magazines and wrote stories. Asimov graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1939.

Early influences

Asimov's interest in science fiction had begun as a boy when he noticed several of the early science fiction magazines for sale on the newsstand in his family's candy store. His father refused to let him read them. But when a new magazine appeared on the scene called Science Wonder Stories, Asimov convinced his father that it was a serious journal of science, and as a result he was allowed to read it. Asimov quickly became a devoted fan of science fiction. He wrote letters to the editors, commenting on stories that had appeared in the magazine, and tried writing stories of his own.

In 1937, at the age of seventeen, he began a story entitled "Cosmic Corkscrew." By the time Asimov finished the story in June 1938, Astounding Stories had become Astounding Science Fiction. Its editor was John W. Campbell, who would go on to influence the work of some of the most famous authors of modern science fiction, including Arthur C. Clarke (1917), Poul Anderson (19262001), L. Sprague de Camp (19072000), and Theodore Sturgeon (19181985). Since Campbell was also one of the best-known science fiction writers of the time, Asimov was shocked by his father's suggestion that he submit his story to the editor in person. But mailing the story would have cost twelve cents while subway fare, round trip, was only ten cents. To save the two cents, he agreed to make the trip to the magazine's office, expecting to leave the story with a secretary.

Campbell, however, had invited many young writers to discuss their work with him. When Asimov arrived he was shown into the editor's office. Campbell talked with him for over an hour and agreed to read the story. Two days later Asimov received it back in the mail. It had been rejected, but Campbell offered suggestions for improvement and encouraged the young man to keep trying. This began a pattern that was to continue for several years, with Campbell guiding Asimov through his beginnings as a science fiction writer. His first professionally published story, "Marooned off Vesta," appeared in Amazing Stories in 1939.

Growing fame

During the 1940s Asimov earned a master's degree and a doctorate, served during World War II (193945) as a chemist at the Naval Air Experimental Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and became an instructor at Boston University School of Medicine. He also came to be considered one of the three greatest writers of science fiction in the 1940s (along with Robert Heinlein and A. E. Van Vogt), and his popularity continued afterward. Stories such as "Nightfall" and "The Bicentennial Man," and novels such as The Gods Themselves and Foundation's Edge, received numerous honors and are recognized as among the best science fiction ever written.

Asimov's books about robotsmost notably I, Robot, The Caves of Steel, and The Naked Sun won respect for science fiction by using elements of style found in other types of books, such as mystery and detective stories. He introduced the "Three Laws of Robotics": "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 the orders given 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 Laws." Asimov said that he used these ideas as the basis for "over two dozen short stories and three novels about robots." The three laws became so popular, and seemed so sensible, that many people believed real robots would eventually be designed according to Asimov's basic principles.

Also notable among Asimov's science fiction works is the "Foundation" series. This group of short stories, published in magazines in the 1940s and then collected and reprinted in the early 1950s, was written as a "future history," a story being told in a society of the future which relates events of that society's history. Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation were enormously popular among science fiction fans. In 1966 the World Science Fiction Convention honored them with a special Hugo Award as the best all-time science fiction series. Even many years after the original publication, Asimov's future history series remained popularin the 1980s, forty years after he began the series, Asimov added a new volume, Foundation's Edge.

Branching out

Asimov's first works of fiction written mainly for a younger audience were his "Lucky Starr" novels. In 1951, at the suggestion of his editor, he began working on a series of science-fiction stories that could easily be adapted for television. "Television was here; that was clear," he said in his autobiography (the story of his life), In Memory Yet Green. "Why not take advantage of it, then?" David Starr: Space Ranger was the first of six volumes of stories involving David 'Lucky' Starr, agent of the outer space law enforcement agency called the Council of Science. The stories, however, were never made for television.

Asimov's first nonfiction book was a medical text entitled Biochemistry and Human Metabolism. Begun in 1950 it was written with two of his coworkers at the Boston University School of Medicine. His many books on science, explaining everything from how nuclear weapons work to the theory of numbers, take complicated information and turn it into readable, interesting writing. Asimov also loved his work as a teacher and discovered that he was an entertaining public speaker. Before his death in 1992, Asimov commented, "I'm on fire to explain, and happiest when it's something reasonably intricate [complicated] which I can make clear step by step. It's the easiest way I can clarify [explain] things in my own mind."

For More Information

Asimov, Isaac. I. Asimov: A Memoir. New York: Doubleday, 1994.

Asimov, Isaac. It's Been a Good Life. Edited by Janet Jeppson Asimov. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2002.

Boerst, William J. Isaac Asimov: Writer of the Future. Greensboro, NC: Morgan Reynolds, 1999.

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Asimov, Isaac

Isaac Asimov (ăz´əmŏf), 1920–92, American author and scientist, b. Petrovichi, USSR, grad. Columbia (B.S., 1939; M.A., 1941; Ph.D., 1948). An astonishingly prolific author, he wrote over 400 books. He first became prominent as a writer of such science fiction as I, Robot (1950, repr. 1970), The Caves of Steel (1954), and his most famous novel, The Foundation Trilogy (1951–53), which chronicled the fall of the Galactic Empire. They were supplemented by two additional novels, Foundation's Edge (1982) and Robots and Empire (1985). He was also a great popularizer of science. His works in this field include The Intelligent Man's Guide to Science (2 vol., rev. ed. 1965), The Stars in Their Courses (1971), and Did Comets Kill the Dinosaurs? (1987). In his later years he wrote on a diverse number of subjects, including guides to the Bible (1968–69) and Shakespeare (1970).

See his memoirs In Memory Yet Green (1979) and In Joy Still Felt (1981); study by J. Fiedler and J. Mele (1982).

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Asimov, Isaac

Asimov, Isaac (1920–92) US writer and scientist, b. Russia. Though he published several serious scientific works, he is best known for his science fiction stories. His prolific output contains some of the finest novels in the genre, including I, Robot (1950) and The Foundation Trilogy (1951–53).

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"Asimov, Isaac." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Asimov, Isaac." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/asimov-isaac

"Asimov, Isaac." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/asimov-isaac