Death of a Legend: Arthur C. Clarke, 1917 - 2008

A tribute to Arthur C. Clarke, who passed away on Wednesday in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, at age 90; we have truly lost an elder statesmen of the world.
Born in Minehead, Somerset, England, on the 16th of December, 1917, Arthur C. Clarke will go down as one of the all time greats. A science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, he will probably be most well known for the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, and its accompanying novella of the same name.

But more than just a big gun in the science fiction world, he was famed for his proposal of communication satellites, for his writings on the future and for his championing of futuristic ideas.

Working as a radar specialist for the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II, Clarke was soon to publish his most famous proposal; satellite communication from geosynchronous orbit. The proposal was published in Wireless World in 1945. A lasting reminder of his contribution to this field of science is the named given to geosynchronous orbits, that which keep a satellite in a fixed position relative to the ground, are called Clarke orbits.

Many will remember Arthur C. Clarke joining Walter Cronkite as commentator’s on the U.S. Apollo moonshots in the late 60’s.

But, it was his writing that not only shot him to greatest fame, but was his favorite passion. "Sometimes I am asked how I would like to be remembered," Clarke said recently. "I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer and space promoter. Of all these I would like to be remembered as a writer."

Among his best known works are "Childhood's End," 1953; "The City and The Stars," 1956, "The Nine Billion Names of God," 1967; "Rendezvous with Rama," 1973; "Imperial Earth," 1975; and "The Songs of Distant Earth," 1986.

But as mentioned, he will probably be most well known for his creative genius that went in to one of the all time classic movies, 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 1989, he wrote of the movie "2001 was written in an age which now lies beyond one of the great divides in human history; we are sundered from it forever by the moment when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out on to the Sea of Tranquility. Now history and fiction have become inexorably intertwined."

There is no way that words alone can do this man justice, and looking at his Wikipedia entry shows just how much he achieved in life. But with the passing of one of the planets ever greatest authors, we have lost a treasure.

Arthur C. Clarke; 1917 – 2008.
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