Science Writing: The Translator

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Although Asimov still holds the title of associate professor of biochemistry at Boston University Medical School, his teaching duties are now confined to occasional lectures. He spends his remaining working hours in the finished attic of his West Newton, Mass., home, batting out books on a new electric typewriter, emerging only occasionally to watch Star Trek (his favorite TV show) and make an infrequent out-of-town trip to deliver a lecture or visit a publisher. Asimov dislikes traveling. "When you have been to other galaxies in your mind," he says, "there's nothing so exciting about visiting Peoria."

But Asimov has lately ventured far afield in his writing, completing books on the Bible and on Greek and Roman history. He also has ambitious plans for books on the Goths and Franks, Constantinople, and histories of England, Germany and France that will somehow be wedged in between volumes on such subjects as "the moon" and "environments out there." Currently, he is in the midst of a first draft of a book on photosynthesis, a complex subject about which he is familiar enough to write entire chapters without the aid of reference books.

At 47, Asimov feels that he must work even faster. He has been haunted ever since boyhood by the fact that the human brain reaches the peak of physiological development by the age of 16, after which it can only deteriorate. "My memory is not what it used to be," he says, "and some day the atrophy of the brain cells will overtake the benefits of my experience."

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