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Clarke continued to take interviews through 2007. On his 90th birthday in December 2007, he bid his friends and family farewall in a recorded video message.  (Source: AP)
The world loses its largest advocate for science and science fiction today

I was extremely disappointed to hear this morning that Arthur C. Clarke passed away today at the age of 90.  How many of us felt something special, or at least incredibly different, the first time we saw 2001: A Space Odessy, or the first time Endeavour opened the hatch of the cylindrical world of Rama? 

It was only so often that a single writer could influence the course of humanity in so many ways. His essays and novels touched on topics that will stay with humanity for generations still.  Clarke is recognized with his own orbit distinction -- Clarke Orbit, 36,000 kilometers above Earth -- for his work on geosynchronous communication satellites.

In his time Clarke penned more than 100 short stories, novels, non-fiction exposes and philosophical essays.

It's unfortunate that Clarke's pinnacle prediction, the space elevator detailed in The Fountains of Paradise, was not a technical possibility by the time of his death.  For my generation, the space elevator will be as much of a certainty as the communications satellite of Clarke's generation. 

Clarke's mastery of the unknown, really an exercise of what he thought was the most logical proposition, kept him writing well into his 80s.  For his work he was knighted in 2000. 

After contracting polio in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, Clarke made it his personal duty to get the local government involved in science and technology.  In 2005 he was honored with the Sri Lankabhimanya, the highest civilian award in the country. 

A relatively obscure quote from Clarke near the end of his days quickly became my favorite after it was appropriately published in 2001:

"I don't pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about..."



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RE: .. really?
By djc208 on 3/21/2008 1:00:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I grew up on the Arthur C. Clarkes and Carl Sagans. These two individuals, in particular, were ardent advocates of science and science fiction -- dying personalities in Western culture


I think that's the part that's missing today. These were the authors that were big in their time. How many scientists, engineers, astronomers, astronauts, etc. grew up reading these authors and their kin and went into these fields so they could play in one of those SF worlds they read about (like me). Asimov's robots were a prime force in my desire to take up engineering.

Now all the kids want to do is go to Hogwarts. I think the best we can hope for is a bunch of chemists who want to create some cool "potion" when they grow up.


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