Isaac Asimov | influence


Paul Krugman, holder of a Nobel Prize in Economics, has stated Asimov's concept of psychohistory inspired him to become an economist.[227]

John Jenkins, who has reviewed the vast majority of Asimov's written output, once observed, "It has been pointed out that most science fiction writers since the 1950s have been affected by Asimov, either modeling their style on his or deliberately avoiding anything like his style."[228] Along with such figures as Bertrand Russell and Karl Popper, Asimov left his mark as one of the most distinguished interdisciplinarians of the 20th century.[229] "Few individuals", writes James L. Christian, "understood better than Isaac Asimov what synoptic thinking is all about. His almost 500 books—which he wrote as a specialist, a knowledgeable authority, or just an excited layman—range over almost all conceivable subjects: the sciences, history, literature, religion, and of course, science fiction."[230] Asimov explained his quest for holistic knowledge:

Through a series of developments of absorbing lack of interest (as far as these pages are concerned), I found myself doing research on a biochemical topic. In that area of study I obtained my Ph.D., and in no time at all I was teaching biochemistry at a medical school.

But even that was too wide a subject. From books to nonfiction, to science, to chemistry, to biochemistry—and not yet enough. The orchard had to be narrowed down further. To do research, I had to find myself a niche within biochemistry, so I began work on nucleic acids ...

And at about that point, I rebelled! I could not stand the claustrophobia that clamped down upon me. I looked with horror, backward and forward across the years, at a horizon that was narrowing down and narrowing down to so petty a portion of the orchard. What I wanted was all the orchard, or as much of it as I could cover in a lifetime of running ...

I have never been sorry for my stubborn advance toward generalization. To be sure, I can't wander in detail through all the orchard, any more than anyone else can, no matter how stupidly determined I may be to do so. Life is far too short and the mind is far too limited. But I can float over the orchard as in a balloon.[231]

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