Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE

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Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE

Birthplace: Minehead, Somerset, United Kingdom
Death: March 19, 2008 (90)
Colombo, Western Province, Sri Lanka (Heart Failure)
Immediate Family:

Son of Charles Wright Clarke and Nora Clarke (Willis)
Ex-husband of Marilyn Clarke (Torgeson nee Mayfield)
Partner of Leslie Ekanayake
Brother of Frederick W Clarke; Nora Mary Clarke and Michael Heal Clarke

Occupation: Author, Inventor
Managed by: Yigal Burstein
Last Updated:

About Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE

Sri Lankabhimanya Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World.

For many years, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the Big Three of science fiction.

Clarke proposed a satellite communication system in 1945 which won him the Franklin Institute Stuart Ballantine Gold Medal in 1963. He was the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1947–1950 and again in 1953.

Arthur C. Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka in 1956 largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving; that year, he discovered the underwater ruins of the ancient Koneswaram temple in Trincomalee. He lived in Sri Lanka until his death.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998, and was awarded Sri Lanka's highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya, in 2005. Wikipedia Cont.

Arthur C. Clarke corresponded with C. S. Lewis in the 1940s and 1950s and they once met in an Oxford pub, The Eastgate, to discuss science fiction and space travel. Clarke, after Lewis's death, voiced great praise for him, saying the Ransom Trilogy was one of the few works of science fiction that could be considered literature.

Clarke and Asimov first met in New York City in 1953, and they traded friendly insults and jabs for decades. They established a verbal agreement, the "Clarke–Asimov Treaty", that when asked who was best, the two would say Clarke was the best science fiction writer and Asimov was the best science writer. In 1972, Clarke put the "treaty" on paper in his dedication to Report on Planet Three and Other Speculations.

A famous quotation of Clarke's is often cited: One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion.

Awards, honours and other recognition

  • ▪ Clarke won the UNESCO–Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science in 1961.
  • ▪ He won the Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1963.
  • ▪ Following the release of 2001, Clarke became much in demand as a commentator on science and technology, especially at the time of the Apollo space program. The fame of 2001 was enough to get the Command Module of the Apollo 13 craft named "Odyssey".
  • Shared a 1969 Academy Award nomination with Stanley Kubrick in the category Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen for 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • ▪ In 1986, Clarke provided a grant to fund the prize money (initially £1,000) for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for the best science fiction novel published in the United Kingdom in the previous year. In 2001 the prize was increased to £2001, and its value now matches the year (e.g., £2005 in 2005).
  • He received a CBE in 1989, and was knighted in 2000. Clarke's health did not allow him to travel to London to receive the honour personally from the Queen, so the United Kingdom's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka invested him as a Knight Bachelor at a ceremony in Colombo.
  • ▪ In 1994, Clarke was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by law professor Glenn Reynolds.
  • ▪ In 2000, he was named a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.
  • ▪ The 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter is named in honour of Sir Arthur's works.
  • ▪ In 2003, Sir Arthur was awarded the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology where he appeared on stage via a 3-D hologram with a group of old friends which included Jill Tarter, Neil Armstrong, Lewis Branscomb, Charles Townes, Freeman Dyson, Bruce Murray and Scott Brown.
  • ▪ In 2004, Sir Arthur was awarded the Heinlein Award for outstanding achievement in hard or science-oriented science fiction.
  • ▪ In 2005 he lent his name to the inaugural Sir Arthur Clarke Awards—dubbed "the Space Oscars". His brother attended the awards ceremony, and presented an award specially chosen by Arthur (and not by the panel of judges who chose the other awards) to the British Interplanetary Society.
  • ▪ On 14 November 2005 Sri Lanka awarded Clarke its highest civilian award, the Sri Lankabhimanya (The Pride of Sri Lanka), for his contributions to science and technology and his commitment to his adopted country.
  • ▪ Sir Arthur was the Honorary Board Chair of the Institute for Cooperation in Space, founded by Carol Rosin, and served on the Board of Governors of the National Space Society, a space advocacy organisation originally founded by Wernher von Braun.
  • ▪ An asteroid was named in Clarke's honour, 4923 Clarke (the number was assigned prior to, and independently of, the name - 2001, however appropriate, was unavailable, having previously been assigned to Albert Einstein).
  • ▪ A species of ceratopsian dinosaur, Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei, discovered in Inverloch in Australia.
  • ▪ The Learning Resource Centre at Richard Huish College, Taunton, which Clarke attended when it was Huish Grammar School, is named after him.
  • ▪ Clarke was a distinguished vice-president of the H. G. Wells Society, being strongly influenced by H. G. Wells as a science-fiction writer.
  • ▪ The main protagonist of the Dead Space series of video games, Isaac Clarke, takes his surname from Arthur C. Clarke, and his given name from Clarke's friendly rival and associate, Isaac Asimov.

Awards established as legacy

  • ▪ Sir Arthur Clarke Award, for achievements in space, awarded annually in the United Kingdom.
  • ▪ Arthur C. Clarke Awards for science fiction writing, awarded annually in the United Kingdom.
  • ▪ Arthur C. Clarke Foundation scholarships and awards.[104]
  • ▪ The Sir Arthur C. Clarke Memorial Trophy Inter School Astronomy Quiz Competition, held in Sri Lanka every year and organized by the Astronomical Association of Ananda College, Colombo. The competition first started in 2001.[citation needed]

Partial bibliography - Select novels

  • ▪ The Sands of Mars (1951)
  • ▪ Prelude to Space (1953)
  • ▪ Childhood's End (1953)
  • ▪ The City and the Stars (1956)
  • ▪ A Fall of Moondust (1961) (Hugo nominee, 1963[105])
  • ▪ 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • ▪ Rendezvous with Rama (1972) (BSFA and Nebula Awards winner, 1973;[106] Hugo, Campbell, and Locus Awards winner, 1974[107])
  • ▪ A Meeting with Medusa (Nebula Award for best novella) (1972)
  • ▪ Imperial Earth (1975)
  • ▪ The Fountains of Paradise (1979) (Hugo Award winner, BSFA nominee, 1979;[108] and Nebula Award winner, Locus Award nominee, 1980[109])
  • ▪ 2010: Odyssey Two (1982) (Hugo and Locus Awards nominee, 1983[110])
  • ▪ The Songs of Distant Earth (1986)
  • ▪ 2061: Odyssey Three (1987)
  • ▪ 3001: The Final Odyssey (1997)
  • ▪ The Light of Other Days (2000) (with Stephen Baxter)

Short story collections

  • ▪ Expedition to Earth (1953)
  • ▪ Reach for Tomorrow (1956)
  • ▪ Tales from the White Hart (1957)
  • ▪ The Other Side of the Sky (1958)
  • ▪ Tales of Ten Worlds (1962)
  • ▪ The Nine Billion Names of God (1967)
  • ▪ The Wind from the Sun (1972)
  • ▪ The Best of Arthur C. Clarke (1973)
  • ▪ The Sentinel (1983)
  • ▪ The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (2001)


  • ▪ Interplanetary Flight: an introduction to astronautics. London: Temple Press, 1950
  • ▪ The Exploration of Space. New York: Harper, 1951
  • ▪ Voice Across the Sea. New York: Harper, 1958
  • ▪ Voices from the Sky: Previews of the Coming Space Age. New York: Harper & Row, 1965
  • ▪ Astounding Days: A Science Fictional Autobiography. London: Gollancz, 1989
  • ▪ Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! : Collected Works 1934-1998. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999
  • ▪ The View From Serendip. Random House. ISBN 0394417968. 1977
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Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE's Timeline

December 16, 1917
Minehead, Somerset, United Kingdom
March 19, 2008
Age 90
Colombo, Western Province, Sri Lanka