Monday, 24 March 2008

Farewell Sir Arthur Charles Clarke

Sir Arthur C. Clarke who is heralded as a scientific visionary and the acclaimed writer of, “2001: A Space Odyssey” was buried in his adopted country of Sri Lanka where he had lived (Colombo) for over fifty years on Saturday 22 March 2008.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke passed away after experiencing heart failure and respiratory problems at the grand old age of 90 on 19 March 2008.

Sir Arthur's brother, Fred Clarke, attended the funeral along with members of the Ekanayake family, with whom the writer had lived in recent years. A nationwide minute's silence was ordered by the Sri Lankan government to coincide with the ceremony and music from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey was played at the funeral.

A Farewell To Sir Arthur Charles Clarke

"Here lies Arthur C Clarke. He never grew up and did not stop growing," his gravestone in Colombo is to read, in accordance with the author's wishes.

Tamara Ekanayake, who grew up at Sir Arthur's home in Colombo , paid tribute to him at the service, saying: "We feel so privileged that you left your mark on us…..Your footprint will never fade. If anything, it will only magnify what we do. "

Before the funeral, yellow roses were thrown on to Sir Arthur's body as a final gesture of respect as it lay on a white bed beneath curved elephant tusks. Clarke had left specific instructions for his funeral and was quoted as saying that religion was;

“A necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species.”

According to his spokesman Nalaka Gawardene, Sir Arthur's last three wishes were for conclusive proof of extraterrestrial life, clean energy to halt global warming and peace in Sri Lanka during his lifetime.

"Now unfortunately he didn't live long enough to see any of these last wishes come true…..And I think the challenge for all his fans and all his admirers is to make these three wishes come true as early and as comprehensively as possible”

Sir Arthur C. Clarke - Godfather Of The Telecommunications Satellite

A radar pioneer in the Royal Air Force during World War II, Clarke wrote a 1945 article in Wireless World magazine in which he outlined a worldwide communications network based on fixed satellites orbiting Earth at an altitude of 22,300 miles -- an orbital area now often referred to as the Clarke Orbit. His conceptual leap, outlined in a 1945 article in Wireless World magazine, was to propose using a set of satellites in geostationary orbit to form a global communications network

Clarke's seminal article (for which he received payment of $40!!) was published two decades before Syncom II became the world's first communications satellite put into geosynchronous orbit in 1963. And so Clarke is widely credited for pioneering the concept of communications satellites, Clarke received a number of honours, including the 1982 Marconi International Fellowship and the Charles A. Lindbergh Award. Clarke was also named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 1986, won innumerable international awards for his fiction and scientific writing.

"Rendezvous with Rama," his 1973 novel about a space probe sent to explore an enormous celestial object speeding through the solar system that turns out to be a mysterious alien spacecraft, was one of Clarke's greatest critical successes. It won the prestigious Nebula, Hugo and John W. Campbell awards for best novel, as well as the British Science Fiction Associate Award, the Locus Award and the Jupiter Award.

"My God, it's full of stars!!”

Among his best-known science-fiction novels are "Childhood's End," "Rendezvous With Rama," "Imperial Earth" and, most famously, "2001: A Space Odyssey."

"It's better to be recognized for one thing, especially something of which I'm quite proud, than not to be recognized at all ," Clarke told The LA Times in 1982. And what a legacy, “2001: A Space Odyssey” was, with its mysterious monoliths, psychopathic Hal 9000 computer and a final sequence which left many cinema-goers confused has since became frequently-referenced icons of modern cinema.

Clarke also foretold an array of technological notions in his works such as space stations, moon landings using a mother ship and a landing pod, cellular phones and the Internet.

"Nobody has done more in the way of enlightened prediction ," science fiction author Isaac Asimov once wrote.

A Farewell To Sir Arthur Charles ClarkeArthur Charles Clarke was born in Minehead, a town in Somerset in the south-west of England , on 16 December 1917, peered into the heavens with a homemade telescope as a boy. A farmer's son, he was educated at Huish's Grammar School in Taunton before joining the civil service, Clarke grew up to become a visionary titan of science fiction and was knighted for his contributions to literature.

Clarke wrote more than 80 fiction and non-fiction books and more than 100 short stories as well as hundreds of articles and essays. A seer of the modern age, Sir Arthur was an original thinker, a scientific expert whose tales combined technology and good old-fashioned storytelling and whose influence went far beyond the written page.

As well as pioneering works of science fiction, Clarke also appeared on television, most notably in, “Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World.” The Mysterious World episode on UFOs which was first shown on ITV in 1980 is still relevant today featuring rare interviews with Ken Arnold, Jessie Roestenburg and Bob Taylor.

Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World - UFO

I'll leave you with Sir Arthur C. Clarke's own words via a BBC report, who while marking his 90th birthday last year, told fans:

"I want to be remembered most as a writer. I want to entertain readers and hopefully stretch their imaginations as well.”

"If I have given you delight by aught that I have done, let me lie quiet in that night, which shall be yours anon."

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