Isaac Asimov

The voice of an era in science fiction.

January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992

Isaac Asimov’s writing won every major award in the science fiction genre. His voice as an author was one that all other science fiction voices either obeyed or shifted from, making him, next to Robert Heinlein, the most influential American science fiction writer of his era.

Born in Russia, Asimov moved to the United States with his family and became a citizen in 1928. Although he was first published in his teens with “Marooned off Vesta” in 1939, he didn't pursue writing as a full-time career until later in life. In fact, he earned his first degree, a BS in chemistry from Columbia University, that same year. He followed that with a master’s degree in 1941 and a PhD in 1948.

During this time period, Asimov wrote part time and produced his three most famous works: “Strange Playfellow” (1940), the first story in the Robot series; “Nightfall” (1941); and “Foundation” (1942), the first installment of the influential Foundation series (1942–1993).

In 1958 Asimov resigned as a professor to write full time. During this era, he focused on nonfiction, including an award-winning popular science column in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. In 1977, he helped found Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. All told, he wrote or edited more than 500 books.

1997 Inductee