Science, Technology and Space: The Isaac Asimov Interview

In this 1980 interview, prolific author Isaac Asimov discussed the centrality of science, technology, and innovation to human society and the inevitability of space colonization.

  • 065 Isaac Asimov Interview 02
    Science, technology and space colonization were leading areas of focus and interest for author Isaac Asimov. Dr. Asimov was thoughtful and animated during his interview.

  • 065 Isaac Asimov Interview 02

Isaac Asimov is one of the world's most famous science fiction authors. His I, Robot and Foundation books are regarded as classics in the field, and his short story "Nightfall" was once proclaimed—by its creator's colleagues—the greatest science fiction story of all time!  

Dr. Asimov is also respected for his ability to write about science, technology, and space for the general public. He's composed over 100 such books, on every topic from photosynthesis to the collapsing-universe theory. And, in addition, the incredibly prolific author has penned mysteries, annotated guides to literature and the Bible, a two-volume autobiography (In Memory Yet Green and In Joy Still Felt), collections of limericks, and dozens of books about history. In fact, on the day that MOTHER EARTH NEWS visited Dr. Asimov in his New York City apartment, the writer received an advance copy of his217thpublished book!  

Still, Asimov's name is not generally associated with alternative technology, self-sufficiency, ecology, or most other "MOTHER EARTH NEWS-type" topics ... so some of you may be wondering why we sought to run an Isaac Asimov interview. (Actually, the famed author seemed a bit puzzled by the idea himself. He responded to our initial invitation by gruffly suggesting that our magazine "berates technology" and would try to cure the miseries of the world "by lynching the nearest engineer!")  

The truth is that the folks here at MOTHER EARTH NEWS realize it isn't necessary to agree with everything a person says in order to learn from that individual. On the contrary, it's often possible to profit more by listening to the opinions of a differently oriented thinker than by paying attention only to those of someone whose ideas exactly mirror our own! Furthermore, humanity's future will be inexorably linked with the problems and potentials of science and technology ... and we were sure that Asimov—whom astronomer Carl Sagan once called "the great explainer of our [technological] age"—would be bound to have some instructive and original thoughts about the role of science in this rapidly changing world.  

Well, let us tell you right now that Dr. Asimov didn't disappoint us. Oh, it took a while to persuade him to agree to an interview—and he did seem less than enthusiastic when staff writer Pat Stone and photographer Steve Keull first arrived at his door last June—but, once everyone sat down to talk, the renowned writer treated MOTHER EARTH NEWS' emissaries to a very stimulating two-hour discussion.  

What follows is the edited transcript of that conversation.  

1/12/2015 6:29:35 AM

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1/12/2015 6:25:11 AM Ci31

1/12/2015 6:16:35 AM

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