My newest hero: Isaac Asimov

Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman were my first  two heroes. Somehow I lived almost half a century with blinders on and the brilliant Isaac Asimov escaped my notice until very recently. I have embarked on reading his books and have accepted the fact that I might not live long enough to read them all. He was that prolific.

“I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” Isaac Asimov

He believed that a writer is simply unable to stop letting the ideas come out. I’m stuck in that spot, captive to my own imagination. If you’re a writer, you must write.

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” Isaac Asimov

Writing is a way to explore what you think. Let it out your fingers. See what’s inside of you. Perhaps I should not worry so much about my students’ incessant addiction to texting and tweeting. Maybe they are thinking through their fingers after all.

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

As a scientist I agree. As an educator I am terrified. Billions of my fellow human beings, made of the same atoms, molecules, amino acids as I, do not  try to understand our world, our galaxy, or our universe. Many intelligent humans are more interested in politics or economics than hydrogen bonding, photosynthesis, or how their iPhone works. Many are more concerned with watching soccer than following the studies on Mars. They don’t care about the water on Europa. I am afraid for us.

“Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” Isaac Asimov

He was funny. Here’s a little insight: your intelligent friends are human. Here’s some more: your student is capable of comprehending everything. Raise the bar. Jump higher.

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
Isaac Asimov

As a writer, as a teacher, as a human, I want to make people think. It’s the best thing humans can do. Thank you, Dr. Asimov, for making me think about what I think.


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