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Facts about Sci-fi writer Arthur C Clarke

world Updated: Mar 19, 2008 11:15 IST

Reuters
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Arthur C Clarke, acclaimed writer of science fiction whose works helped shape a whole genre, has died at the age of 90.

Following are some facts about the author:

-- Clarke was born into an English farming family in Somerset, England in 1917. In the 1930s he pursued an interest in space sciences by joining the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) and began to write science fiction.

-- In World War Two, Clarke served in the Royal Air Force and worked with experimental radar systems. The experience would later inspire his only non-science fiction novel, Glide Path. He became the president of the BIS from 1947-50 and again in 1953.

-- In 1945, Clarke published a landmark technical paper setting out the principles of communication using satellites in geostationary orbits -- a speculative technology realized 25 years later. His work won him several awards and today, the geostationary orbit at 36,000 km above the equator is named The Clarke Orbit by the International Astronomical Union.

-- Soon after the war he graduated from King's College, London in physics and mathematics and resumed writing science fiction. He quickly became a prolific and popular author, penning scores of novels, short stories and non-fiction works in the following decades. His writing returned repeatedly to outer space, the future, alien life and humanity's place in the cosmos.

-- In the 1940s, Clarke predicted that man would reach the moon by the year 2000, an idea some dismissed as nonsense. When Neil Armstrong landed in 1969, the United States said Clarke had "provided the essential intellectual drive that led us to the moon."

-- In 1964, he started to work with the film maker Stanley Kubrick on the script of a groundbreaking film which was to win audiences and accolades far wider than those of most previous science fiction -- "2001: A Space Odyssey".

Based loosely on a short story Clarke had written in 1948, it deals poetically with themes of human evolution, technology and consciousness and has come to be regarded by many as one of the greatest films ever made.

-- Clarke first visited Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, in December 1954 and moved to the country soon after. He spent most of the rest of his life there.

(Sources: here and Reuters)