Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008)

At the age of 90, Arthur C. Clarke died today in his home in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). See Google news.

This science-fiction writer has been able to generate not only crazy ideas but also meaningful technological proposals - even though the geostationary satellites that he predicted in the 1950s probably remained the only major concept that has been realized. It is unlikely that the space elevators will join the set of dreams that have come true in a foreseeable future.

He wrote more than a hundred of sci-fi novels but I also remember his TV program about paranormal phenomena that was aired when I was a kid. Many people around me had the tendency to believe these things and I wanted to investigate it in an open-minded fashion. So I wrote detailed notes about the observed phenomena. Finally, it looked like there was nothing unusual to explain but these programs were an interesting adventure for me anyway.

It would probably be impossible to classify Arthur C. Clarke as a scientist but it doesn't mean that he had nothing to say to scientists and science fans.

Eric Berger wrote an article about Clarke, too. Incidentally, you might be interested in SciGuy's interview with NASA chief Michael Griffin who said that he was surprised that the impact of climate change wasn't viewed as a technical topic but rather a religious dogma.

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