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2.6 Where did Isaac Asimov live, attend school, and work during his life?




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This article is from the Isaac Asimov FAQ, by Edward J. Seiler ejseiler@earthlink.net and John H. Jenkins jenkins@mac.com with numerous contributions by others.

2.6 Where did Isaac Asimov live, attend school, and work during his life?

When the Asimov family came to the United States in 1923, they moved into
their first apartment at 425 Van Siclen Avenue, in the East New York
section of Brooklyn. In the summer of 1925 they moved one block away to
an apartment at 434 Miller Avenue. They moved half a mile eastward in
December 1928 to another apartment at 651 Essex Street, above the second
candy store bought by his father. In early 1933, they moved to an
apartment on Church Avenue, and after a brief stay there they moved to an
apartment above yet another family candy store, at 1312 Decatur Street, in
the Ridgewood section of Brooklyn. In December of 1936, Asimov's father
sold his third candy store and bought his fourth, at 174 Windsor Place, in
the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, and the family moved to a house across
the street.

In May of 1942, Asimov left New York to work at a wartime job at the
Philadelphia Naval Yard, and there he rented a room in someone else's
house at 4707 Sansom Street, until September, when soon after getting
married he and Gertrude moved into an apartment at 4715 Walnut Street.
When the lease ran out they moved to another apartment in Philadelphia at
Wingate Hall in December. They moved back to New York in September 1945,
and in November he was inducted into the army. In the army he spent a
week at Fort Meade, Md., and was then stationed at Camp Lee, Virginia
until March of 1946, when he was transferred to the island of Oahu. He
returned to the states in May, and after his discharge from the army in
July, he and Gertrude moved into a small apartment in Brooklyn on 213 Dean
Street in September 1946. In September of 1947 they moved to the
downstairs apartment of his parents' house on Windsor Place, and in July
of the next year moved to Apartment 9-C of the Stuyvesant Town complex on
273 First Avenue. They moved to Boston in May 1949 to an apartment at 42
Worcester Square, and quickly moved again in July to an apartment in the
suburb of Somerville. In May 1951 they moved to an apartment at 265
Lowell Street, in Waltham, Mass. They moved two miles to the south to a
house at 45 Greenough Street in West Newton, Mass. in March 1956.

In July 1970, he separated from his wife and moved back to New York,
staying at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel. After his divorce from Gertrude in
November 1973, he married Janet and moved into her apartment. They moved
to the Park Ten apartments in April 1975, to a 33rd floor apartment
overlooking Central Park, where they lived together until his death in
1992.

Asimov began his formal education in the New York Public School system in
1925 at PS182, and transferred to PS202 when the family moved in 1928. He
continued on to East New York Junior High School 149 in September 1930,
where he was placed in the rapid advance course, and graduated in June
1932. He entered tenth grade at Boys High School in the fall, and
graduated in the spring of 1935. After attending City College for only a
few days, he switched to the Brooklyn campus of Seth Low Junior College,
which provided him with a scholarship of one hundred dollars. The college
closed after his freshman year, so he continued at the parent institution,
Columbia University, at the Morningside Heights campus. He graduated from
Columbia with a B.S. in Chemistry in 1939. After his applications to all
five New York City medical schools were rejected, he applied for the
master's program in chemistry at Columbia. After he was rejected for the
master's program, he convinced the department committee to accept him on
probation. After one year the probation was lifted, and he earned his
M.A. in Chemistry in 1941. He continued on at Columbia in a Ph.D.
program, and after the gap in his research that lasted from 1942 through
1946 (due to his wartime job and his army), he earned his Ph.D. in
Biochemistry in May 1948.

Asimov started working in his parents' Essex Street candy store in 1929,
when his mother became unable to work a full day due to her third
pregnancy, and learned the steady work habits that would stay with him for
the rest of his life. After his freshman year of college, he had a summer
job at the Columbia Combining Company, where he cut and folded sheets of
rubberized fabric. During his sophomore year he held a National Youth
Administration job working for a psychology professor, and as a junior and
senior his NYA job was as a typist for a sociology professor. Throughout
the period of 1929 to 1942, he continued to work at the family candy
store. He worked as a junior chemist at the Philadelphia Navy Yard from
May 1942 to October 1945, together with fellow science fiction authors
Robert Heinlein and L. Sprague de Camp. In 1948 he obtained a
postdoctoral position at Columbia, researching antimalarial compounds. In
June of 1949 he took a job as instructor of biochemistry at the Boston
University School of Medicine, and was promoted to assistant professor in
December 1951. He was promoted to associate professor, which provided him
with tenure, in July 1955. He gave up his teaching duties and salary at
the School of Medicine in 1958 , but retained his title, so that on July
1, 1958, he became a full-time writer. (He was fired, he said, for
choosing to be an excellent lecturer and science writer, rather than be a
merely mediocre researcher.) In 1979, the school promoted him to the rank
of full professor.

 

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