Happy Birthday, Isaac Asimov

Robert Heinlein, L. Sprague de Camp, and Isaac Asimov, Philadelphia Navy Yard, 1944

Robert Heinlein, L. Sprague de Camp, and Isaac Asimov, Philadelphia Navy Yard, 1944

Born 1920: Isaac Asimov

Yesterday the Scientific American blog analyzed The Good Doctor’s predictive powers in a 1964 op-ed for The New York Times where he speculated what the world would look like in 2014.

Asimov had attended the World’s Fair of 1964 and took a rather optimistic view of humanity in spite of looming thermonuclear war. Technology would advance, the human population would prosper, and we would explore the frontiers of sea and space for our benefit.

Here’s a sample paragraph from Asimov’s vision of the future —

And experimental fusion-power plant or two will already exist in 2014. (Even today, a small but genuine fusion explosion is demonstrated at frequent intervals in the G.E. exhibit at the 1964 fair.) Large solar-power stations will also be in operation in a number of desert and semi-desert areas — Arizona, the Negev, Kazakhstan. In the more crowded, but cloudy and smoggy areas, solar power will be less practical. An exhibit at the 2014 fair will show models of power stations in space, collecting sunlight by means of huge parabolic focusing devices and radiating the energy thus collected down to earth.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the link.]

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Isaac Asimov

  1. Asimov was noted today on public radio’s “The Writer’s Almanac”, with particular attention paid to his short story “Nightfall”.

  2. Some of that’s not too far off the mark, and one *might* argue that had the political will been there we might have some of that stuff. Instead, we had lobbying by the oil companies to thwart rapid advancement in alternate energy sources, massive apathy about the space program, and tricky plasma physics that always seems to keep commercial generation of fusion power about 40 years in the future. Maybe if we spotted Asimov about 40 years, it would be enough to make his guesses right.

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