Arthur C. Clarke Joins the Cosmos At Last, Dead at 90

The visionary Science Fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke passed away today in Sri Lanka. As a teenager, I think I read every single one of his books. I loved getting lost in his geeky, dreamy space oriented worlds.

Most people know of him because co-wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey with Stanley Kubrick. It was based on Arthur’s book, “The Sentinel”, which was written in 1948. In the movie, his HAL character was based on an actual demonstration he witnessed in the Bell Labs Murray Hill facility with his scientist friend, John Pierce.

One of the cool things about Arthur C. Clarke was that he envisioned telecommunications satellites way before they were possible. In 1945, he wrote a paper about it which was published in Wireless World. The geostationary orbit is called the Clarke Orbit or the Clarke Belt in his honor. Well Arthur, your body may be gone, but your vision lives on…

One thought on “Arthur C. Clarke Joins the Cosmos At Last, Dead at 90”

  1. Hey Tammara – I didn’t realize you were into all this when we were growing up, somehow I thought I was the only Space cadet in the family! Here’s some info I was given recently that you may find interesting:

    Something special for the rest of you science and science fiction geeks out there–

    The biggest supernova on record was visible for one hour March 19, the day Arthur C. Clarke died. It was the brightest and most distant object ever known to be visible by the naked eye. It was also accompanied by the largest gamma ray burst ever recorded. What makes it even more interesting is that it was one of five such bursts to reach earth that day. The supernovas that produced these bursts happened thousands of years ago, but through amazing coincidence, they all reached the earth that day. Gamma ray bursts are not that uncommon, but having that many in one day is remarkable. I guess Arthur went out with a bang, like the supernova in his story about the Star of Bethlehelm, called “The Star.”

    One thing we will want to be on the watch for, however, is more seismic activity. Bursts this large are often accompanied by gravity wave distortions. It’s so subtle you wouldn’t feel it, but acting on something the size of the earth, there does seem to be a correlation with earthquakes and volcanic activity if things are on the edge and ready to go anyhow. (Kind of like hurricane babies tend to be born when the barometric pressure falls.)

    Here’s a quote from one of the many online stories. You can find more with a Google search if you’re interested:

    The afterglow of GRB 080319B was 2.5 million times more luminous than the most luminous supernova ever recorded, making it the most intrinsically bright object ever recorded.

    Astronomers have placed the star in the constellation Bo├Âtes. They have estimated it to be 7.5 billion light years away from Earth, meaning the explosion took place when the universe was less than half its current age and before Earth formed.

    The most distant previous object that could be seen by the naked eye is the galaxy M33, a relatively short 2.9 million light-years from Earth.

    The burst was detected by Swift at 2:12 EDT on March 19 and was one of five gamma-ray bursts detected that day, the same day that famed science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke died.

    “Coincidentally, the passing of Arthur C. Clarke seems to have set the universe ablaze with gamma-ray bursts,” said Swift science team member Judith Racusin, a Penn State graduate student.

    I thought it was pretty cool! RIP Arthur.
    Love ya,
    big sis

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