2008: Arthur C Clarke's Odyssey's End

Science Fiction writer extraordinaire Sir Arthur C. Clarke died Tuesday at the age of 90.  The great majority who’ll recognize his name only as the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey were unfortunately denied the wonder of his myriad other remarkable accomplishments.

Clarke’s 70 plus Sci-Fi masterpieces included provocative short stories like 2001 inspiration The Sentinal and ground-breaking novels like cult-classic Childhood’s End. And most of us hard-core fans of the genre had eagerly consumed the bulk of them by the time we were old enough to cast our first presidential vote.

But his grand scientific vision transcended fiction, as his landmark technical paper Extra-terrestrial Relays proved in 1945 by envisioning and blueprinting communication through geostationary orbiting satellites.  Not only did Clarke’s revelation lead to virtually all of today’s satellite communication technology, but the use of the man-made birds for weather forecasting was also of his brilliant invention.

Clarke inspired young minds to reach for the stars by teaching that most technological achievements were born of a writer’s imagination.  And that nothing conceived of our intellect is truly impossible, as he affirmed in what became known as Clarke's First Law:
“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

But perhaps his greatest inspirations were those awakening the curious child in us all, like this one of his many gems:

“Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering.”

Science Fiction writer extraordinaire Sir Arthur C. Clarke died Tuesday at the age of 90.  The great majority who’ll recognize his name only as the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey were unfortunately denied the wonder of his myriad other remarkable accomplishments.

Clarke’s 70 plus Sci-Fi masterpieces included provocative short stories like 2001 inspiration The Sentinal and ground-breaking novels like cult-classic Childhood’s End. And most of us hard-core fans of the genre had eagerly consumed the bulk of them by the time we were old enough to cast our first presidential vote.

But his grand scientific vision transcended fiction, as his landmark technical paper Extra-terrestrial Relays proved in 1945 by envisioning and blueprinting communication through geostationary orbiting satellites.  Not only did Clarke’s revelation lead to virtually all of today’s satellite communication technology, but the use of the man-made birds for weather forecasting was also of his brilliant invention.

Clarke inspired young minds to reach for the stars by teaching that most technological achievements were born of a writer’s imagination.  And that nothing conceived of our intellect is truly impossible, as he affirmed in what became known as Clarke's First Law:
“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

But perhaps his greatest inspirations were those awakening the curious child in us all, like this one of his many gems:

“Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering.”