March 2008 has been a rough month for nerds. First came the passing of D&D co-creator Gary Gygax. Now we hear that one of the mightiest names in science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke, has died.
Clarke, author of some of the genre's classics such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Childhood's End, was a tireless enthusiast for science and technology. Arguably, though, Clarke's most striking contribution to humanity, published in a paper in 1945, was his idea of using geostationary satellites as communications relay stations.
A too-brief encounter with Arthur C. Clarke, the grand old man of science-fiction visionaries.
By Matthew TeaguePosted 08.19.2004 at 5:00 pm 4 Comments
In 2004, Matthew Teague traveled to Arthur C. Clarke's Sri Lankan home for a Popular Science profile. They candidly discussed Clarke's incredible legacy as well as his insatiable thirst—even at age 87—for the next Big Idea. Here we present again this feature in tribute to a man whose visions still continue to profoundly influence the world of science and technology today.
The gate to Arthur C. Clarke's compound stood tall, white and blast-proof. We ran our hands over its surface, poking around for some secret doorbell. "Hello? Can anybody hear us?"
I wasn't trespassing—I'd called ahead, and Clarke agreed to see me, apparently curious why an American would track him down to this doorstep in Sri Lanka, the tiny, troubled island nation off the coast of India. But the place spooked Thilac, my Sri Lankan driver. "Maybe wrong house," he said, looking around. "OK?"