A too-brief encounter with the grand old man of science-fiction visionaries.
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?"