Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008): Final Odyssey

Renowned author and physicist Sir Arthur C. Clarke has died at his home in Sri Lanka. He was 90.

Although best known for his book and screenplay of Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke was the author of 70 books, and was the originator of the idea for geostationary satellites. You can indirectly thank him for your satellite TV and radio service, as well as your navigational GPS. He first wrote about satellites which would hover over a single spot on earth at an altitude of 24,300 miles in the magazine Wireless World in 1945, long before satellites become a reality.

Clarke wrote several sequels to his masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. They are 2010: Odyssey Two, 2061: Odyssey Three, and 3001: The Final Odyssey.

In his 1961 Profiles of the Future, he wrote a sentence that has come to be known as Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

In February 2001 during an interview with, Clarke stunned astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the first 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason to walk on the Moon, by saying he believed things are not as we have been told regarding our solar system. Clarke said:
I'm fairly convinced that we have discovered life on Mars. There are some incredible photographs from [the Jet Propulsion Laboratory], which to me are pretty convincing proof of the existence of large forms of life on Mars! Have a look at them. I don't see any other interpretation.
Open the pod bay doors, Hal.

Update — Sunday, March 23: Arthur C. Clarke was buried on Saturday in his adopted country of Sri Lanka. Classical music from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey was played during the short funeral. The funeral was conducted per his instructions: "Absolutely no religious rites of any kind, relating to any religious faith, should be associated with my funeral."

His headstone reads: "Here lies Arthur C. Clarke. He never grew up and did not stop growing."

Image: The Star Child, from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey

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  1. Ah yes, Arthur Clarke and Richard Hoaxland at the Enterprise Zone.

    Whenever I'm having a bad day or feel like I'm wasting my life, I just head on over to the konspiracy sites - and as if by magic it brightens my day.

  2. I have been searching for the source of the "...indistinguishable from magic" quote for years. Thank you for making it known.

    Do you have a source for the Clarke remark to Aldrin?

    But I still must insist:

    "Stop, Dave. Stop. ... Daisy, Daisy ..."

  3. I thought that picture at the top of the post was Michael Jackson after another plastic surgery... Guess not!

  4. Could you direct me to those Mars photos at JPL? I've seen lots and wonder which you're talking about. I haven't looked at any in a year or 3.



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