100 years after the birth of Isaac Asimov, the titan of science fiction

Today marks 100 years since the birth of Isaac Asimov, considered one of the three great writers of world science fiction, along with Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein, and one of the most prodigious minds of the 20th century.

He wrote more than 500 works, in which he dealt with different modalities, such as history, popularization, and mystery; but he is better remembered for his science fiction works, through which he predicted technological advances and social events that were unimaginable in his time.

Isaac Asimov was born in Petrovich, a town in the former Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic; however, he never learned the language of his place of origin, since his parents, who were Jewish millers, emigrated to the United States when he was only three years old. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and during his youth, he worked in several of his father's candy stores, where he discovered science fiction through the pulp magazines, where, at the age of 19, he began to publish his stories.

He graduated as a biochemist from Columbia University in 1939, and in 1941 obtained a postgraduate degree in chemistry. The following year his knowledge earned him a job, which would last throughout World War II, within a US Navy shipyard.

The beginning of his literary career was based on the publication of short stories in various media, one of the most important being Virtuous Circle, printed in 1942, in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction, in which his famous Laws of Robotics saw the light for the first time, three "mathematical formulations printed in the positronic paths of the android's brain", which were extended throughout his production and are considered one of his greatest contributions to the world.

In 1950 he published his first novel, A Pebble in the Sky, and a year later saw the light of what would become his most acclaimed work: Foundation, the first installment of the series of the same name, which portrays a society tens of thousands of years in the future, which, ruled by the Galactic Empire, begins to corrupt and stagnate its scientific knowledge.

The other titles in his cosmic saga are Foundation and Empire (1952) and Second Foundation (1953), which together with his first book were awarded the Hugo Prize for the Best Science Fiction Series of All Time in 1966, defeating the also iconic series of The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien and Barsoom by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

In 1982, Isaac Asimov expanded his universe with the publication of The Limits of the Foundation (1982), Foundation and Earth (1986), Prelude to the Foundation (1988), and Toward the Foundation (1993).

The success of his books has been such that some have inspired the seventh art, such as Me, Robot and The Bicentennial Man. In addition, Apple TV+ is preparing a series based on its famous Foundation trilogy.

Asimov was a humanist, rationalist and militant of the American Democratic Party. He was also an advocate of the application of nuclear energy in civilian life.

Also, the Oxford English Dictionary credits him as the architect and introducer to the Anglo-Saxon language of such words as robotics, psychohistory (ability to predict the future through knowledge of the past, human behavior, and statistics), and positronic.

Until the day of his death on April 6, 1992, at the age of 72, he remained active. For 10 years it was believed that his death was due to heart and kidney failure, until in 2002 his widow, Janet, revealed that he had been infected with AIDS in 1983 during a blood transfusion.

ISAAC ASIMOV

- Died: 6 April 1992

- Nationality: American (naturalized)

- Profession: Writer and professor of biochemistry

By Mexicanist Source Zocalo