Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sir Arthur C. Clarke's Birthday Message to Roosevelt Island and the Rest of the World

I am a big fan of science fiction and Arthur C. Clarke together with Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein are my favorite authors of this genre. Via Space Ref,

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a science-fiction author, inventor, and futurist, simply a greate mind celebrates his 90th birth anniversary on 16th of December, 2007.
Sir Arthur was the first person to propose using geostationary satellites for instant global communications.

An ``artificial satellite'' at the correct distance from the earth would make one revolution every 24 hours; i.e., it would remain stationary above the same spot and would be within optical range of nearly half the earth's surface. Three repeater stations, 120 degrees apart in the correct orbit, could give television and microwave coverage to the entire planet."

He is the author of many books including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End, Rendezvous With Rama and my favorite Clarke book, Fountains of Paradise that describes the construction of a space elevator.

Sir Arthur developed the 3 Laws of Prediction:

1- When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. 2- The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. 3- Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Happy 90 orbits around the sun Sir Arthur. Transcript and video of Arthur C. Clarke's 90th birthday remarks are here. UPDATE 12/16/07: For those interested in space and astronomy, today's Washington Post has a fantastic profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Director of the Hayden Planetarium.
"I grew up in the Bronx, and I'd never been in total darkness before," he says. "The closest you'll get is a movie theater, but even in a movie theater there's a glow from the doors. So I had a kind of urban view of the universe, and when I was at the planetarium and the stars came up, I remember thinking, 'Nice show, but this is not the real universe. I've seen the real universe, and it has 12 stars in it.' " Once Tyson learned otherwise, he was smitten. He'd talk about the universe, read about the universe and, whenever possible, stare at the universe through a telescope he'd lug to the roof of the apartment building where his family lived. Whenever anyone asked what he'd do when he grew up, he had an answer, one that he had trouble pronouncing at the time: "I'm going to be an astrophysicist." Which is what he became, though his PhD in the subject is but one line of a résumé so packed with titles and achievements that it is tiring to read. Tyson is the author of eight books on all things intergalactic, most recently "Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries," a bestseller that was just released in paperback. He is also the host of "Nova ScienceNow," a "60 Minutes"-style show on PBS, as well as a lecturer, researcher and a TV pundit whenever the heavens make news.
I don't think Arthur C. Clarke would mind sharing his birthday message with Neil deGrasse Tyson.