Isaac Asimov (2 January 1920  – 6 April 1992) is credited as one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time. If you don't believe us, read I, Robot! Or better still, The Foundation Trilogy. Along with Arthur C. Clarke and Robert A. Heinlein, Asimov is considered to be one of the "big three" of science fiction.
Originally, Asimov started in the field of biochemistry, earning a PhD in the subject in 1948 and taking a teaching position at Boston University's School of Medicine until he turned to writing full time in 1958. He is most famed for his writing on robotics but during the 1960s, he shifted his focus almost entirely to writing popular science, which was inspired by the public's new found interest in science following the launch of Sputnik in 1957. The high quality and diversity of his pop science work earned him the title of the "Great Explainer" and once prompted Kurt Vonnegut to ask him "how does it feel to know everything?". He considered himself a rationalist and humanist, and also did some work in refuting superstition and pseudoscience.
 Three laws
Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics:
- First law: A robot may not, through its actions or inactions, allow a human to come to harm.
- Second law: A robot must obey any order given to it, unless in contradiction of the First Law.
- Third law: A robot must protect its own existence, unless in contradiction of the First or Second Law.
These rules apparently logically lead to a fourth, or rather, Zeroth, law: A robot may not harm Humanity or, through inaction, allow Humanity to come to harm. This may also be considered a corollary. The I Robot series of short stories plays with these "rules", and endlessly exploits their weak links. For instance, what would happen to the laws if a human ordered a robot to kill someone, but threatened to kill themselves if the robot did not obey? Clearly, someone's head is going to explode at some point. When contradictions such as this arise, the robot is in danger of 'brain' damage, for which it may take years of 'robopsychology' to repair, if repair is even possible.
 I Robot, the Movie
The 2004 film version of I, Robot resembles the book in the following particulars:
- The title.
- Mentioning the Three Laws.
Asimov made many quotable statements but one relevant to RationalWiki's proclaimed purpose is:
“”There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of 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 "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
|—Column in Newsweek (21 January 1980)|
 The Sirius Mystery
The Sirius Mystery is a book by Robert Temple, which claims that the Dogon people were visited in the past by extraterrestrials from Sirius. What does this have to do with Asimov, you ask? Temple sent the book to Asimov to ask for his opinion, and Asimov remarked, "I couldn't find any mistakes in this book. That in itself is extraordinary", a statement which was then made part of the advertising blurb for the book. But Asimov did not actually support the book, saying, "Robert Temple on three different occasions, by mail and phone, attempted to get support from me and I steadfastly refused." He also wrote:
He sent me the manuscript which I found unreadable. Finally, he asked me point-blank if I could point out any errors in it and partly out of politeness, partly to get rid of him, and partly because I had been able to read very little of the book so that the answer was true, I said I could not point out any errors. He certainly did not have permission to use that statement as part of the promotion, I'll just have to be even more careful hereafter.
- Isaac Asimov Home Page
- Asimov on the threat of creationism (in 1984!)
- The Relativity of Wrong - see wronger than wrong
- ↑ Asimov was unsure of his exact date of birth but celebrated it as having been 2 January 1920.
- ↑ Asimov's recurrent robopsychologist character, Susan Calvin, explains this on multiple occasions.
- ↑ http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=i_robot
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Sirius Mystery, excerpt from UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries by James Oberg.