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ENGL 257: Science Fiction and Fantasy

“The Great Explainer”: Isaac Asimov, Science, Science Fiction, and Scientific Literacy - Professor Jay Cole                                               

He coined the word “robotics.”  His Foundation Trilogy was voted “Best All-Time Series” by the World Science Fiction Convention.  He wrote or edited more than 500 books on topics ranging from the Bible to biochemistry, from the Sun to Shakespeare, from genetics to Gilbert and Sullivan.  In this course, we will examine the writings of Isaac Asimov and discover how he earned the nickname, “The Great Explainer.”  From his science books and essays to his science fiction novels and short stories, Asimov helped to popularize and explain science for millions of readers around the world.  How did he do it?  At a time when scientific literacy is more important than ever, we will study one of the most eloquent and effective champions of scientific literacy and his impact.  As an added bonus, the WVU Library has one of the world’s largest collections of Asimov materials.  We will spend time exploring that collection to learn more about this remarkable writer and his legacy.