Isaac Asimov Essay

Isaac Asimov Essay-34
I would suggest that members at a cerebration session be given sinecure tasks to do—short reports to write, or summaries of their conclusions, or brief answers to suggested problems—and be paid for that; the payment being the fee that would ordinarily be paid for the cerebration session.

I would suggest that members at a cerebration session be given sinecure tasks to do—short reports to write, or summaries of their conclusions, or brief answers to suggested problems—and be paid for that; the payment being the fee that would ordinarily be paid for the cerebration session.

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The insights this gave me into chemistry went far beyond anything I learned in my formal classes.

In his essay “Life’s Bottleneck” (F&SF, April 1959) he taught me biochemistry in a way that showed the precarious balance of nature and how remarkable it was that just the right conditions existed to support life.

This was essentially rote memorization and despite being an “advanced placement” class, I was more or less taking the teacher’s word on these things. I learned, for instance, how the Krebs cycle was discovered, which fixed it much more clearly in my mind.

I learned the fascinating story of Gregor Mendel and how he discovered the laws of inheritance and how they were then lost to science for another generation.

Still, while I learned equations for light and magnetism in his class, Isaac Asimov made such subjects come to life in a practical way for me with essays like “The Bridge of the Gods” (F&SF, March 1975) about rainbows, refraction and light, and his essay “Four Hundred Octaves” (F&SF, June 1982) on the physics of light.

He was the Great Explainer and it was from essays like “The Man Who Massed the Earth” (F&SF, September 1969) that I learned that science was a continually evolving thing.

Two nights ago I braved the bitterly cold weather to check the mail.

When I got outside, I looked up into a midnight blue sky, crystal clear in the cold air with stars shimmering brightly, and immediately saw a meteor disintegrate in the upper atmosphere.

In high school chemistry (and later, in college general and organic chemistry), I memorized the periodic table and was taught how to balance chemical formulas.

Isaac Asimov taught me how Dmitri Mendeleev developed the period table and how he predicted the properties of elements long before they were ever discovered.

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