Isaac Asimov is considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers of the 20th century, alongside Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. Hugely prolific, he wrote or edited some 500 books, ranging from guides to the works of Shakespeare to collections of lewd limericks. But he is best known for his hard sci-fi novels, especially the “Foundation” and “Robot” series. Asimov was a professor of biochemistry at Boston University, so he certainly knew his science. He knew people too; like his friend and fellow writer Kurt Vonnegut, he served as the president of the American Humanist Association. Indeed, societal evolution plays a key role in Asimov’s Hugo Award-winning “Foundation” series, whose central characters try to predict the outcomes of galaxy-spanning events — while also trying to understand one another on a personal level.