Born in Petrovichi, USSR, graduated Columbia University (B.S., 1939; M.A., 1941; PhD., 1948). An astonishingly prolific author, he wrote over 400 books. He first became prominent as a writer of such science fiction as I, Robot (1950, repr. 1970), The Caves of Steel (1954), and his most famous novel, The Foundation Trilogy (1951–53), which chronicled the fall of the Galactic Empire. They were supplemented by two additional novels, Foundation's Edge (1982) and Robots and Empire (1985). He was also a great popularizer of science. His works in this field include The Intelligent Man's Guide to Science (2 vol., rev. ed. 1965), The Stars in Their Courses (1971), and Did Comets Kill the Dinosaurs? (1987). In his later years he wrote on a diverse number of subjects, including guides to the Bible (1968–69) and Shakespeare (1970).
See his memoirs In Memory Yet Green (1979) and In Joy Still Felt (1981); study by Jean Fiedler and Jim Mele (1982).