Arthur Charles Clarke, born December 16, 1917, passed away on March 18, 2008, in his home in Sri Lanka.
A wonderful science fiction and science writer, he is popularly known for his film and novel “2001: A Space Odyssey” and his introduction of the concept of geosynchronous communication satellites. One of the best science fiction writers, and one of my favorites, he has left a large corpus of science fiction novels and short stories well-grounded in hard science and imaginatively written.
Clarke also introduced the three laws quoted below which are well known in the science/engineering and science fiction communities. The third law is widely quoted, often without attribution to him.
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 limits of the possible can only be found by going beyond them into the impossible.
3. Any sufficiently advanced technology may, at first, be indistinguishable from magic.
(Note: These should not be confused with the three Laws of Robotics introduced by Clarke’s friend, the SF and science writer Isaac Asimov).
A nice obituary for Clarke has been published in the Guardian, here: http://books.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,2266521,00.html
Sir Arthur C. Clarke (he was knighted in 1998, the award being made in 2000) recorded a message on the occasion of his 90th birthday last December which has been published on YouTube, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qLdeEjdbWE
Arthur C Clarke, 1917-2008, I salute you.