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Who is Sir Arthur C. Clarke?

Sir Arthur C. Clarke was a visionary science fiction author and inventor, whose works, including the iconic "2001: A Space Odyssey," have inspired generations. His foresight into technological advancements was uncanny, blending science with imaginative storytelling. His legacy extends beyond literature into the very fabric of space exploration. How has his work influenced our view of the cosmos? Continue exploring to find out.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Sir Arthur C. Clarke is best noted for his work which inspired the movie 2001 and its sequel 2010. An avid writer, who always enjoyed the possibilities of real applications of science fiction to science, Clarke is considered one of the big three, or one of the three most important science fiction writers of his age. The other two, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, have predeceased Clarke, who was born in 1916.

Clarke was born and educated in England, and served as a radar specialist for the British Airforce during WWII. After the war ended, Clarke earned degrees in mathematics and physics at King’s College. In addition to being a fine writer, and much inspired by the many pulp science fiction magazines he read as a boy, Sir Arthur C. Clarke was also a gifted scientist and inventor. One of his most famous ideas was his suggestion that satellites could be used to support planetary communications of telecommunications. Though mostly prediction at the point he proposed it, it has clearly come true with the many satellite phones, and GPS devices commonly used.

Arthur C. Clarke developed the concepts later used to create communication satellites in a paper he published in 1948.
Arthur C. Clarke developed the concepts later used to create communication satellites in a paper he published in 1948.

Clarke is known for his fiction pieces, and for his writing and development of several sci fi based shows for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). He is less known for a number of nonfiction works he published during his career. Glide Path for instance, though told in fiction form is autobiographical. Other non-fiction works include The Promise of Space and The Exploration of Space.

Arthur C. Clarke, who was an avid diver, incorporated undersea settings into many of his novels.
Arthur C. Clarke, who was an avid diver, incorporated undersea settings into many of his novels.

The short story that Sir Arthur C. Clarke wrote, which later inspired 2001 was called “The Sentinel,” and was rejected in 1948 by the BBC when Clarke submitted it for a short story competition. It was not published until 1951, and it would be another 17 years before the story was significantly edited and changed for the Stanley Kubrick classic sci fi film. “The Sentinel,” remains Clarke’s best-known work, though he also published several novels. These include, Childhood’s End, Rendezvous with Rama, and The City and the Stars. In total he has written over 30 novels, published over ten short story collections, and 30 works of non-fiction.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke was an inventor who predicted the use of satellite communication, like satellite phones.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke was an inventor who predicted the use of satellite communication, like satellite phones.

In addition to being an avid stargazer and interested in all things science and science fiction, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, also enjoyed scuba diving, prompting his move to Sri Lanka. For his contributions to literature and science, Clarke was considered for knighthood in 1998. He refused this initial offer because at the same time, a British tabloid published an inflammatory piece about him that claimed he was a pedophile. Allegations led to investigation by the Sri Lankan government and Clarke was ultimately cleared of all charges of pedophilia. In 2000, he was knighted, and was designated a knight bachelor of England, where he maintains citizenship, though he is also a citizen of Sri Lanka.

Clarke was a frequent stargazer.
Clarke was a frequent stargazer.

Since 1988, Sir Arthur C. Clarke has been partly to totally dependent on a wheel chair as a result of post-polio syndrome. In 2007, he stated that he was completely dependent on a wheel chair and would not travel from Sri Lanka again. His fertile imagination continues to serve him, and he will always be remembered as the man who wrote one of the most important science fiction pieces Earth has yet to receive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who was Sir Arthur C. Clarke and why is he significant?

Sir Arthur C. Clarke was a British science fiction writer, futurist, and inventor, widely recognized for his profound impact on the genre. His most famous work, "2001: A Space Odyssey," co-written with filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, is a seminal piece that blends scientific accuracy with profound philosophical questions. Clarke's visionary ideas, such as the concept of geostationary communication satellites, which he proposed in a paper in 1945, have had lasting influence on both literature and science. His contributions to the world of science fiction and real-world technology have made him an iconic figure in both fields.

What are some of Sir Arthur C. Clarke's most notable works?

Sir Arthur C. Clarke authored over 100 books, but some of his most notable works include "Childhood's End," "Rendezvous with Rama," and the "Space Odyssey" series, beginning with "2001: A Space Odyssey." These works are celebrated for their imaginative exploration of space and the future, as well as their insights into human nature and evolution. Clarke's writing has been praised for its scientific foresight and its ability to inspire both readers and scientists alike.

What technological predictions did Sir Arthur C. Clarke make that came true?

Sir Arthur C. Clarke is renowned for his uncanny ability to predict future technologies. His most famous prediction, the geostationary communications satellite, has become a cornerstone of modern global communication. He also foresaw the proliferation of personal computers and the internet, describing a future where individuals could access information from around the world through what he called "personal transceivers," a reality that mirrors today's smartphones and global connectivity.

How did Sir Arthur C. Clarke contribute to the field of space exploration?

Sir Arthur C. Clarke's contributions to space exploration were both direct and indirect. His conceptualization of geostationary satellites laid the groundwork for modern space-based communications. Moreover, his writings, filled with detailed descriptions of space travel and colonization, have inspired generations of scientists, engineers, and astronauts. Clarke's advocacy for space exploration and his ability to imagine a future in space helped to fuel public interest and support for space programs.

What awards and honors did Sir Arthur C. Clarke receive during his lifetime?

Throughout his illustrious career, Sir Arthur C. Clarke received numerous awards and honors. These include the Hugo and Nebula Awards, which are among the most prestigious accolades in science fiction writing. He was knighted in 1998 for his services to literature. Additionally, Clarke was awarded the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the popularization of science and the Marconi Prize for his contributions to communications. His legacy continues to be celebrated in the fields of literature and science.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent PublicPeople contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent PublicPeople contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...

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    • Arthur C. Clarke developed the concepts later used to create communication satellites in a paper he published in 1948.
      By: Arkady Chubykin
      Arthur C. Clarke developed the concepts later used to create communication satellites in a paper he published in 1948.
    • Arthur C. Clarke, who was an avid diver, incorporated undersea settings into many of his novels.
      By: eothman
      Arthur C. Clarke, who was an avid diver, incorporated undersea settings into many of his novels.
    • Sir Arthur C. Clarke was an inventor who predicted the use of satellite communication, like satellite phones.
      By: morane
      Sir Arthur C. Clarke was an inventor who predicted the use of satellite communication, like satellite phones.
    • Clarke was a frequent stargazer.
      By: TTstudio
      Clarke was a frequent stargazer.