Thiotimoline (Was: fuggedaboudit, frog and toe)

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Wed Sep 4 01:00:21 UTC 2002

In a message dated 09/03/2002 3:23:53 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
sylvar at writes:

> May I quote you on that thiotimoline story?  One of my fellow contributors
>  to the database on has a hazy memory that it was the first
>  question asked, which supposedly put Asimov at ease.

Better see if you can find a written source, perhaps Asimov's multi-volume

At some point in the 1970's I was at a science fiction convention where
Asimov was a speaker, or perhaps was in a question-and-answer session.  I
seem to recall that it was in response to a question from the floor about the
thiotimoline article, but anyway he talked about the article and made the
statement about Campbell's "steel-trap mind" (it may have been that Campbell
had "the original steel-trap mind").  If my quarter-century-old memory is
correct, he stated that the question at his thesis orals about thiotimoline
occurred at the end of the session.

It would be unlikely that one of his examiners would have asked the question
at the very beginning, since, so I am told, thesis examiners go for the
fierce in their questions.  Starting off with thiotimoline would have
signified that the oral exam was a formality.

I remember one other anecdote Asimove told about the orals.  He was
questioned as to what kind of mushrooms he was using, and named the species.
The dialogue continued something like this:
Q.. How do you know?
A.  That is the only kind of mushroom sold commercially in the United States.
Q.  What if you did not know that?  How would you identify the mushroom.?
]A.  By consulting a mushroom book.
Q.  Such as?
A.  Yours, sir?

Given this kind of questioning, it is unlikely that the examiners would have
mentioned thiotimoline until the end of the session.

                 - Jim Landau

P.S.  The Thiotimoline "article" appeared in the March 1948 issue of
_Astounding Science Fiction_.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list