Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov (January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He was known for his works of science fiction and popular science. Asimov wrote hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers during his lifetime.

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The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what's right.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.

Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.

A robot may not injure humanity or through inaction allow humanity to come to harm. [The Zeroth Law of Robotics]

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.

A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. [The Second Law of Robotics]

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. [The Third Law of Robotics]

Until I became a published writer I remained completely ignorant of books on how to write and courses on the subject... they would have spoiled my natural style, made me observe caution, would have hedged me with rules.

Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.

If knowledge can create problems it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.

To introduce something altogether new would mean to begin all over to become ignorant again and to run the old old risk of failing to learn.

It is a curious fact that innumerable readers have asked me if I wrote this story. They seem never to remember the title of the story or (for sure) the author except for the vague thought it might be me. But of course they never forget the story itself especially the ending. The idea seems to drown out everything else - and I'm satisfied that it should.

To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature and it remains premature today

The vast majority who believe in astrology and think that the planets have nothing better to do than form a code that will tell them whether tomorrow is a good day to close a business deal or not become all the more excited and enthusiastic about the bilge when a group of astronomers denounces it.

University President: Why is it that you physicists always require so much expensive equipment? Now the Department of Mathematics requires nothing but money for paper pencils and erasers...and the Department of Philosophy is better still. It doesn't even ask for erasers.

When asked what he would do if he only had six months to live: Type faster.

Then Priss arrived dragging a volume of colorlessness in with him a drabness that was unaffected by the noise and the absolute splendor (no other word would describe it - or else it was the two martinis glowing inside me) that filled the room

In life unlike chess the game continues after checkmate

Meanwhile fears of universal disaster sank to an all-time low over the world

A poor idea well written is more likely to be accepted than a good idea poorly written

I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander.

It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly

I am an atheist out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

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.

Writing to me is simply thinking through my fingers.

He had read much if one considers his long life, but his contemplation was much more than his reading. He was wont to say that if he had read as much as other men he should have known no more than other men.

It is change continuing change inevitable change that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is but the world as it will be.

From my close observation of writers...they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.

A subtle thought that is in error may yet give rise to fruitful inquiry that can establish truths of great value.

It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories it's what you have to unlearn

I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.

I prefer rationalism to atheism. The question of God and other objects-of-faith are outside reason and play no part in rationalism thus you don't have to waste your time in either attacking or defending.

I sit here and think with more than a little astonishment that I have been writing and publishing Science Fiction now for just three-eighths of a century. This isn't bad for someone who only admits to being in his late youth- or a little over thirty if pinned down.

How I want a drink alcoholic of course after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics!

It takes more than capital to swing business. You've got to have the A. I. D. degree to get by - Advertising Initiative and Dynamics.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science the one that heralds the most discoveries is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny'

No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is but the world as it will be. . ..

True literacy is becoming an arcane art and the United States is steadily dumbing down.

It seems to me that God is a convenient invention of the human mind

All sorts of computer errors are now turning up. You'd be surprised to know the number of doctors who claim they are treating pregnant men.

I don't believe in an afterlife so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.

Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that

Well I can type all day without getting tired. [In response to a question as to which he preferred women or writing]

If I were not an atheist I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God God God and whose every deed is foul foul foul.

Scientific apparatus offers a window to knowledge but as they grow more elaborate scientists spend ever more time washing the windows.

A robot may not injure a human being or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm. [The First Law of Robotics]

Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable solutions are not.

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.

I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't I would die.

To insult someone we call him "bestial." For deliberate cruelty and nature "human" might be the greater insult.

Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put on an orgy in my office and I wouldn't look up. Well maybe once.

Nunca dejes que la moral te impida dejar de hacer lo que est

The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.

The trouble is that racial stereotypes unfavourable to everyone but white men of northwest European extraction were completely accepted and indeed scarcely noted in those days of only forty years ago [the 1930s] (except perhaps by the members of the groups victimized thereby).

If I could trace my origins to Judas Maccabaeus or King David that would not add one inch to my stature. It may well be that many East European Jews are descended from Khazars I may be one of them. Who knows? And who cares?

Though science can cause problems it is not by ignorance that we will solve them.

When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.

Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today -- but the core of science fiction its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.

Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know - and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so knowledge remains better than ignorance.

When however the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion - the distinguished but elderly scientists are then after all probably right

The most exciting phrase to hear in science the one that heralds new discoveries is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..."

If I am right then [religious fundamentalists] will not go to Heaven because there is no Heaven. If THEY are right then they will not go to Heaven because they are hypocrites.

There is an art to science and a science in art, the two are not enemies but different aspects of the whole.

In 1936 I first wrote science fiction. It was a long-winded attempt at writing an endless novel...which died. I remember one sentence "Whole forests stood sere and brown in midsummer".

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.

John Dalton's records carefully preserved for a century were destroyed during the World War II bombing of Manchester. It is not only the living who are killed in war.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.

I am the beneficiary of a lucky break in the genetic sweepstakes.

It pays to be obvious especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.

I have been told that a young would-be composer wrote to Mozart asking advice as to how to compose a symphony. Mozart responded that a symphony was a complex and demanding form and that it would be better to start with something simpler. The young man protested 'But Herr Mozart you wrote symphonies when you were younger than I am now.' And Mozart replied 'I never asked how.'

There is a single light of science and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.

No one can possibly have lived through the Great Depression without being scarred by it. No amount of experience since the depression can convince someone who has lived through it that the world is safe economically.

Jokes of the proper kind properly told can do more to enlighten questions of politics philosophy and literature than any number of dull arguments.

It is a curious fact that innumerable readers have asked me if I wrote this story ... They seem never to remember the title of the story or (for sure) the author except for the vague thought it might be me. But of course they never forget the story itself especially the ending. The idea seems to drown out everything else - and I'm satisfied that it should.

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

And above all things never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning

Early in my school career I turned out to be an incorrigible disciplinary problem. I could understand what the teacher was saying as fast as she could say it I found time hanging heavy so I would occasionally talk to my neighbor. That was my great crime I talked.

I don't believe in personal immortality, the only way I expect to have some version of such a thing is through my books.

If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live I'd type a little faster.

That we have come as far as we have in forty years [the 1930s to the 1970s] is hopeful though I believe it is more through the fact that Hitler's excesses made racism poisonous to any humane individual than through our own virtue. That we have much farther to go is incontestable.