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Arthur C. Clarke, R.I.P.

No time this evening to do anything more than pass along the sad news that we have lost one of our greatest visionaries. The BBC has the story, and the New York Times offers a lengthy obituary.

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  • James M. Essig March 18, 2008, 22:29

    Hi Paul and the entire readership of Tau Zero;

    The passing of Arthur C. Clarke is indeed sad and he will be remembered for the great work he did as both a scientist and then as science fiction writer. He wrote over 100 books.

    His many contibutions to the movement to motivate man to reach out into space are inspiring to us all. The popular movies based on his works helped the global community to ponder how different certain ETI lifeforms may be from us and no doubt instilled in the mind of the scientists and engineers and politicians a reflective sense of what it would mean if we found an artifact of extraterrestrial intellegence within or on the surface of any of the many planetary bodies of our solar system.

    My brother John this evening mentioned that he read a Paper written by Arthur C. Clarke holding that the use of extraterrestrial based radio relay beacons in stationary orbit above Earth would have a profound effect on the communications infrastructure of our civilization. And this was significantly before the deploying of geosynchronous communications sattilites. Boy was Arthur right!

    We can be sure that the effects and significance of what Arthur C. Clarke accomplished will live on as long as human civilization exists. Just as his radiance of intellect has left a permanent imprint on the collective attitudes of the global community which will live on forever, his influence will radiate forever into the cosmos in the form of the electromagnetic propagations of the transmitted for television movies based on his works as these broadcasts’ carrier waves travel outward into the eternal depths of space. I can imagine that any existent ETI lifeforms, especially any off chance existent lifeforms with a humanoid like appearence will no doubt find any transmissions of these movies to be greatly intreaging and thought provoking. The idea of life forms in the form of mathematically perfect monoliths is just to other worldy not to catch the attention of any ETI receiving these broadcasts.

    We can all take a lesson from the life of Arthur and that is we must keep the dream alive of technological development, manned space travel, social and spiritual progress, and of our deep seated inclination rooted into our hearts and minds that somehow there is a benevolent higher power that can be a source of great guidance and mentoring of our civiliztion as we reach ever further out into the mysterious eternal blackness of space and time.

  • Adam March 19, 2008, 3:44

    Hi All

    A sad day indeed. I was hoping he’d become the first nonagenarian on Virgin Galactic – though his post-polio probably had already nixed that idea.

    He has seen further than us all, and we’re all enriched by his vision. For an atheist he wrote quite a lot about God in his stories, and I hope God appreciated his efforts.

  • Ronald March 19, 2008, 7:14

    I also mourn the loss of this great thinker. Like with Carl Sagan, I had hoped the he would have lived to witness the discovery of the first life-bearing planet, probably by means of spectroscopic analysis. But alas, humankind’s priorities have postponed instruments like TFP and Darwin too long.

  • dad2059 March 19, 2008, 8:21

    Bon voyage Sir Arthur!

    May we finally live up to your expectations!

  • ljk March 19, 2008, 8:45

    Arthur C. Clarke may not have lived to see humanity discover
    extraterrestrial life, but he did a lot to make that day become
    a reality.

    In 2001: A Space Odyssey (next month is the 40th anniversary
    of that great SF film’s premiere), HAL 9000 said this line which
    I think sums up ACC’s life:

    “I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I
    think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.”

    Here is a Web site devoted to a science fiction mini-drama based
    on a short story by ACC:


    Lunar Photo of the Day has its tribute to ACC:


  • george scaglione March 19, 2008, 8:57

    i can only say that i agree with all of you above 100% he was one of my favorite all time authors.a very rare and important man in that he provoked thought in others.a very valuable commodity!!! i mourn the loss. thank you my friends. george

  • ljk March 19, 2008, 12:24

    Carl Sagan wrote a tribute to ACC in 1983 which is online here:


    Another tribute to ACC is on the Space Elevator Reference site,
    with a link to a technical paper by Clarke on the subject:


  • ljk March 19, 2008, 16:31

    Space.com’s tribute to ACC:


    And one from Biology in Science Fiction, which describes some
    of the thought processes on human development behind the
    making of 2001: A Space Odyssey:


  • ljk April 2, 2008, 11:01

    Our Past Future – 40 Years Ago Today


    2001; A Space Odyssey’s world premiere was on April 2, 1968,
    at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C.

  • ljk April 7, 2008, 10:59

    Clarke and Kubrick glimpsed the future

    The recent passing of Arthur C. Clarke came just before the
    40th anniversary of the release of “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

    Jim McDade uses these events as an opportunity for reflection
    on both that seminal work as well as our own prospects for the


  • ljk June 30, 2008, 16:22

    Arthur C. Clarke looks back on the lifetime of influences that led
    him to become a science-fiction Grand Master

    By George Zebrowski

    Arthur C. Clarke happily recalls that “at the age of 12 I saw my
    first science-fiction magazine, the November 1928 Amazing Stories.

    “The cover is in front of me at the moment—and it really is
    amazing, for a reason which neither Hugo Gernsback nor artist
    Frank Paul could ever have guessed.

    “A spaceship looking like a farm silo with picture windows is
    disgorging its exuberant passengers onto a tropical beach, above
    which floats the orange ball of Jupiter, filling half the sky. The
    foreground is, alas, improbable, because the temperature of the
    Jovian satellites is around minus 150 centigrade. But the giant
    planet is painted with such stunning accuracy that one could use
    the cover to make a very good case for precognition; Paul has
    shown turbulent cloud formations, cyclonic patterns and enigmatic
    white structures like earth-sized amoebae which were not revealed
    until the Voyager missions over 50 years later. How did he know?”

    Full interview here:


  • george scaglione July 1, 2008, 9:11

    ljk yes truly incredible! i recall how pictures like that could spark my own imagination as a boy. you know clarkes last novel ( co authored with someone else) will be comming out in i believe early august. i will surely have a look.he was my favorite sf author of all time. thank you your friend george ps yes the points he made about the things depicted where indeed strange.

  • ljk July 1, 2008, 9:53

    Arthur C. Clarke, A Visionary Astrobiologist

    This retrospective highlights Arthur C. Clarke’s influence on
    space travel, space exploration, and astrobiology.


  • ljk March 19, 2009, 19:04

    The Discovery Enterprise: Remembering Sir Arthur….

    It was one year ago today that Arthur C. Clarke went on his final odyssey into the infinite. Today on Discovery Enterprise we would like to pay homage to the Man who inspired three generations of men and women to pursue careers in science and space with his visionary writings.