(written from a Production point of view)
Isaac Asimov (2 January 1920 – 6 April 1992; age 72), born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov, was a scientist in the field of biochemistry, noted science fiction author, a well-respected voice within the scientific community, an outspoken supporter of cybernetics and creator of the "Three Laws of Robotics," intended to protect Humans from androids, or 'robots' as they were called then. As stated in "Datalore", he did in fact coin the term "positronic brain". He was also a good friend of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and scientific adviser for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Asimov had first seen Star Trek at the 1–5 September 1966 "Tricon World Science Fiction Convention" in Cleveland, Ohio, when Roddenberry screened "Where No Man Has Gone Before" to the audience.  The first encounter between the two men was less than auspicious; when Asimov and his retinue entered the screening room, they did so in a bit too rambunctious manner, and the still unknown Roddenberry had the gall to shush the famed author up, enticing an audience member to call out, "You're dead, you just insulted Isaac Asimov!" Asimov however, took no offense and conceded he was being rude. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, pp. 21-22)
His collaboration with the series started in earnest with his "What Are a Few Galaxies Among Friends?"-article he wrote for TV Guide in November the same year, in which he criticized the series for its scientific inaccuracy. More successfully rebooting their first acquaintance, Roddenberry wrote a letter to Asimov, explaining how hard they tried to keep the show remaining in the realm of serious science fiction, which made him change his opinion and become a loud supporter of Star Trek. He and Roddenberry soon became friends and often shared letters in which Asimov gave advice concerning the series. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story) Asimov also attended the first Star Trek convention, in 1972. (The Star Trek Compendium)
While invited in 1966 by Roddenberry to write for Star Trek: The Original Series, Asimov did not do so, not able to find the time (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, 1st ed., p. 3), yet chalked up one later official franchise contribution nonetheless: that of "Special Science Consultant" for The Motion Picture. Actually, that production was already served by Jesco von Puttkamer in that capacity, but Roddenberry needed an additional "heavier weight" to win over some of the highest and more conservative corporate executives, who started to increasingly voice concerns about the theme of a sentient robot, for religious as well as scientific believability reasons, resisting the theme for well over a year. Despite Asimov's reassurances, and even though by that time it had been too late to alter the story, their fears were only allayed when Penthouse magazine published an interview (in its October 1978 issue) in which the director of NASA's Institute of Space Studies, Robert Jastrow, broached the subject favorably. (Return to Tomorrow - The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 193; Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History, p. 101)
In July 1987, Roddenberry wrote a letter to both Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, asking the two noted authors to support his response – which was a negative opinion – to the story outline of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, against Producer Harve Bennett and star/Director/Co-Writer William Shatner. Asimov replied with a supporting letter to Roddenberry, sharing his views on the un-scientific "the center of the Galaxy" concept and the "un-Trek-like" notion of the crew falling in for a charismatic preacher.  This was not the first time Roddenberry sought out support from the famed authors, as he had done so on several occasions previously, when things did not go his way, and it was scoffingly met with increasing derision from some, but not all, Star Trek production staffers, as was evidenced by a later remark from Bennett; "He would cite everybody from Arthur C. Clarke to Isaac Asimov, who he would always run to, and they would always say, 'Yes, Gene, you're right'." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 41)
On the subject of his own birthdate, Asimov said, in In Memory Yet Green, "The date of my birth, as I celebrate it, was January 2, 1920. It could not have been later than that. It might, however, have been earlier. Allowing for the uncertainties of the times, of the lack of records, of the Jewish and Julian calendars, it might have been as early as October 4, 1919. There is, however, no way of finding out. My parents were always uncertain and it really doesn't matter. I celebrate January 2, 1920, so let it be."
Captain Amasov was named for him. Within the Star Trek universe, he was named in dialogue in TNG: "Datalore" and in production art seen in DS9: "Far Beyond the Stars". Albert Macklin was based on Asimov.
Star Trek bibliographyEdit
- note: this list is currently incomplete
- "What Are a Few Galaxies Among Friends?", TV Guide, 26 November 1966, pp. 6-9
- "Mr. Spock is Dreamy!", TV Guide, 29 April 1967, pp. 9-11 (reprinted in Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, 1994, pp. 36-37)
- "The Conventions as Asimov Sees Them", Starlog, issue 1, August 1976, p. 43