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When the family arrived in the United States in 1923 and their name had to be spelled in the Latin alphabet, Asimov's father spelled it with an S, believing this letter to be pronounced like Z (as in German), and so it became Asimov.Asimov refused early suggestions of using a more common name as a pseudonym, and believed that its recognizability helped his career.
Asimov was a prolific writer who wrote or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards.
His other major series are the "Galactic Empire" series and the Robot series.
Asimov described Carl Sagan as one of only two people he ever met whose intellect surpassed his own.
The other, he claimed, was the computer scientist and artificial intelligence expert Marvin Minsky.
Asimov was afraid of flying, doing so only twice: once in the course of his work at the Naval Air Experimental Station and once returning home from Oahu in 1946. This phobia influenced several of his fiction works, such as the Wendell Urth mystery stories and the Robot novels featuring Elijah Baley.
In his later years, Asimov found enjoyment traveling on cruise ships, beginning in 1972 when he viewed the Apollo 17 launch from a cruise ship. He never learned to swim or ride a bicycle; however, he did learn to drive a car after he moved to Boston.After two rounds of rejections by medical schools, in 1939, Asimov applied to the graduate program in chemistry at Columbia; initially rejected and then accepted only on a probationary basis, In between earning these two degrees, Asimov spent three years during World War II working as a civilian chemist at the Philadelphia Navy Yard's Naval Air Experimental Station, living in the Walnut Hill section of West Philadelphia from 1942 to 1945.In 1946, a bureaucratic error caused his military allotment to be stopped, and he was removed from a task force days before it sailed to participate in Operation Crossroads nuclear weapons tests at Bikini Atoll.In 1955 he was promoted to associate professor, which gave him tenure.In December 1957 Asimov was dismissed from his teaching post, with effect from 30 June 1958, because he had stopped doing research.After a struggle which lasted for two years he kept his title, In 1959, after a recommendation from Arthur Obermayer, Asimov's friend and a scientist on the U. missile protection project, Asimov was approached by DARPA to join Obermayer's team.Asimov declined on the grounds that his ability to write freely would be impaired should he receive classified information. Gertrude returned to Brooklyn while he was in the army, and they both lived there from July 1946, before moving to Stuyvesant Town, Manhattan, in July 1948.From 1985 until his death in 1992, he served as president of the AHA, an honorary appointment.His successor was his friend and fellow writer Kurt Vonnegut.Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson.He also wrote hundreds of short stories, including the social science fiction novelette "Nightfall", which in 1964 was voted the best short science fiction story of all time by the Science Fiction Writers of America.