19 March 2008

Arthur C Clarke: RIP

The genius science fiction writer and visionary, Arthur C Clarke passed away at his home in Sri Lanka today, aged 90. He was an amazing man that predicted many technological advances with uncanny accuracy. He theories the idea of satellite communication, a world wide net work of computers and in the 1940's predicted man would walk on the moon by the year 2000.
Best known for his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick on the book and film 2001: A Space Oddessy, he wrote over 100 books. basing his science fiction on scientific theory and fact, whilst also breaking to broadcasting with both radio and television shows.

As a mark of respect here is a list of 10 amazing quotes and three "laws" from the great man:
  • The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.
  • A hundred years ago, the electric telegraph made possible - indeed, inevitable - the United States of America. The communications satellite will make equally inevitable a United Nations of Earth; let us hope that the transition period will not be equally bloody. First on the Moon, 1970
  • It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.
  • How inappropriate to call this planet Earth, when clearly it is Ocean
  • If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run - and often in the short one - the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative. The Exploration of Space, 1951
  • I'm sure we would not have had men on the Moon if it had not been for Wells and Verne and the people who write about this and made people think about it. I'm rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books. Address to US Congress, 1975
  • At the present rate of progress, it is almost impossible to imagine any technical feat that cannot be achieved - if it can be achieved at all - within the next few hundred years. 1983
  • "The mind has an extraordinary ability to "see" things that are hoped for." 1973
  • Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.

Clarke's three laws, "Technology and the Future" 1961

  • 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.
  • Clarke's second law: The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.
  • Clarke's third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

  • "As three laws were good enough for Newton, I have modestly decided to stop there.""Profiles of the Future" (1962)

Other deaths this week include Gary Gygax, inventor of Dungeons and Dragions, and Oscar winning film director, Anthony Minghella.

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