Janet Jeppson Asimov

On this date in 1926, humanist Janet Opal Asimov (née Jeppson), was born into a Mormon family in Ashland, Pa. While known for her fiction writing, science columns and accomplishments in psychiatry and psychoanalysis, her marriage to Isaac Asimov in 1973 added further prominence. She enrolled at Wellesley College, where “I came to think of death as a disorganization of the patterns called living with nothing supernatural left over,” according to The Humanist (March 4, 2019).

She earned a B.A. degree from Stanford University, an M.D. degree from New York University Medical School and in 1960 graduated from the William Alanson White Institute of Psychoanalysis, where she continued to work until 1986. After her marriage she practiced psychiatry as Janet O. Jeppson and published medical papers under that name.

Her first story was published in The Saint Mystery Magazine in 1966. She would eventually publish 27 works, including six novels, and switched to her married name to co-write science fiction with Isaac. They released the young-adult novel Norby, the Mixed-Up Robot in 1983 and followed it with nine others in the Norby Chronicles series. He was later quoted that despite the joint byline, she did 90% of the work. After his death in 1992, she took over writing his syndicated Los Angeles Times science column. She died in New York in February 2019 at age 92.

Chris Johnson © photo, cropped; used with permission.

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