Prolific Russian-American author and professor of biochemistry, Isaac Asimov, was born in Belarus in 1920. Before he succumbed to heart and kidney failure at the age of 72, Asimov had written or edited a massive 500 books and an estimated 90,000 postcards and letters. His works have since been published in 9 out of 10 major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification. He has written extensively on historical themes- focusing on the Roman and Egyptian empires, and even wrote guides to the Old and the New Testament.
However, Professor Asimov’s greatest contribution was undoubtedly in the genre of science fiction where he was termed as one of the ‘Big Three’. In 1968, Nightfall, written by Asimov, was voted the best science fiction short story ever written. Nightfall grew to be considered an archetypal example of a new genre called ‘social science fiction’, which was a term coined by Asimov himself. Confronted with a sci-fi convention where robots exist only to torment their human creators, Professor Asimov envisaged a splendid future where we need not dread our own technology. With his breakthrough sci-fi story compilation, I, Robot, the professor set the ground rules for robo-behavior both in literature and perhaps one day in reality. Asimov played a major role in the epic Star Trek franchise, serving as an advisor on its projects and writing critical essays on its scientific accuracy.
Apart from winning more than a dozen annual awards for specific works on science fiction and 6 lifetime awards, Isaac Asimov, he has received 14 honorary doctorates from various universities. He also has named after him a crater on mars, a comet, a school in New York and several awards.
Isaac Asimov had stated during an interview that he hoped his ideas would live on past his death; his wish today has come to fruition, with the world continuing to contemplate his literary and scientific legacies.
By Sanjana Ahuja