Encyclopedia Galactica

HARI SELDON -- Born in 11988 GE, died 12069 GE. The dates are more commonly given in terms of the current Foundation Era as -79 FE to the year 1 FE. Born to middle-class parents on Helicon, Arcturus sector (where his father, in a legend of doubtful authenticity, was a tobacco grower in the hydroponic plants of the planet), he early showed amazing ability in mathematics. Anecdots concerning his ability are innumerable, and some are contradictory. At the age of 22, he is said to have ... Undoubtedly his greatest contributions were in the field of Psycohistory. Seldon found the field little more than a set of vague axioms; he left it a profound statistical science. The best existing authority we have for the details of his life is the biography written by Gaal Dormick who, as a young man, met Seldon two years before the great mathematician's death. Found dead, slumped over desk in his office at Streeling University in 1 FE. Apparently Seldon had been working up to his last moments on psychohistorical equations; his activated Prime Radiant was discovered clutched in hand. According to Seldon’s instructions, the instrument was shipped by his colleague Gaal Dornick who had recently emigrated to Terminus. Seldon's body was jettisoned into space, also in accordance with instructions he’d left. The official memorial service on Trantor was simple, though attended. It was worth noting that Seldon’s old friend former First Minister Eto Demerzel attended the event. Demerzel had not been seen since his mysterious disappearance immediately following the Joranumite Conspiracy during the reign of Emperor Cleon I. Attempts by the Commission of Public Safety to locate Demerzel in the days following the Seldon memorial proved to be unsuccessful. Wanda Seldon, Hari Seldon’s granddaughter, did not attend the ceremony. It was rumored that she was grief-stricken and had refused all public appearances. To this day, her whereabouts from then on remain unknown. It has been said that Hari Seldon left this life as lived it, for he died with the future he created unfolding all around him.

Hari Seldon
Born 11988 GE
-79 FE
Died 12069 GE
1 FE
Gender Male
Homeworld Helicon
Affiliation Mathematician on Trantor
  • Streeling University
Era(s) - Galactic Era
- Foundation Era

Hari Seldon, a modest mathematician who was born in Helicon, created the discipline of Psychohistory, which suggests that the future of humanity and of the universe does not fall squarely in the realm of chaos, but can be deduced thanks to mathematical formulas. Though Seldon mostly appears in the first three volumes of the Foundation Series, his presence is palpable in the characters of all Foundation novels, and he plays a huge role in the development of history from his early life to millennia after his death.


Seldon's father was a tobacco farmer on his home planet of Helicon. It is presumed that Seldon learned Twisting, the Heliconian martial art, from an early age, as by his adulthood he is a skillful practician of it. Not much is said of his mother. He apparently showed mathematical capabilities at a very early age and was recognized for it. Hari Seldon was born on the planet of Helicon in the Arcturus Sector. His father was a farmer, raising tobacco. On Helicon, while growing up, he learned the art of Twisting, which is the Heliconian martial art. To his old age, Seldon remained a proficient Twister.

Around the age of 30, Seldon presented his seminal thesis regarding psychohistory at the Decennial Convention, a mathematical convention that met occasionally in Trantor. In his thesis, Seldon argued for the first time that psychohistory - and predicting the future with some sort of mathematical certainty - was indeed possible. The speech was noticed by Emperor Cleon I, who was on the throne at the time, and his First Minister, Eto Demerzel. Chetter Hummin, acting as a friendly force, insured that Seldon could escape the Emperor. In reality, Eto Demerzel and Chetter Hummin are revealed to be the same person - the robot R. Daneel Olivaw. Regardless, Olivaw, recognizing the importance of Psychohistory, provided Seldon with Dors Venabili as a protector and companion, and encouraged Seldon to set out on The Flight, a time when he and Dors were constantly moving from place to place, escaping detection and kidnapping, and meanwhile developing the basics of Psychohistory. The four locations Seldon visited during The Flight were (in chronological order) - Streeling University, Mycogen, Dahl, and finally Wye (all four being sector of the planet Trantor).

After The Flight, and after helping Emperor Cleon I and Eto Demerzel put down the Joranumite Rebellion, Hari Seldon is unexpectedly chosen as the First Minister (after R. Daneel Olivaw announces his departure). Despite his own objections, Emperor Cleon I does not waver, and Seldon serves for ten years as First Minister of the Galactic Empire.

Seldon's term as First Minister ended when he was almost assassinated by his own son, Raych Seldon, who was under the influence of Desperance and under the mental control of the remnants of the Joranumite Conspiracy. At the same time, Emperor Cleon I was assassinated by a gardener for an unrelated matter, and Seldon thought it wise to step down and allow the military junta that was growing more powerful to take control of the Empire.