A Short Obit On Arthur C. Clarke

from the rip dept

A bunch of people have been submitting the news that famed writer Arthur C. Clarke has passed away at the age of 90. You've probably already read about it elsewhere, so I debated whether or not it was worth posting it here as well. However, he clearly had a large impact on the technology world, and there was one interesting note in his NYTimes obit that seems to fit with what we often talk about here. While it's widely known that he's credited with the idea of the geostationary satellite, in later life, Clarke admitted that a lawyer convinced him not to patent the idea, saying that the concept of geostationary communications satellites was "too far-fetched to be taken seriously." While he later joked about how he probably lost billions on that decision, the truth is that in not patenting the concept and simply publishing the idea, it's quite likely that he did much more to speed along the concept from idea to reality. Even he admits that there was nothing "new" in what he described, it was just that he helped publicize the concept and make people realize it was feasible -- and for that we should be thankful.

Filed Under: arthur c. clarke, patents

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  1. icon
    Wolferz (profile), 19 Mar 2008 @ 8:36am

    Re: Death of a Sexist

    Many of his more famous works were written in the conservative dominated 50s. The period was dominated by a sense that women were not leadership material or that their place was in the home. Clark rose above this in many of his works. He depicted women in positions of power and authority.

    "2001: a Space Odyssey" and "2010: The year We Make Contact" both had women with jobs that at the time those books were written women were not expected to have. In 2001 a woman was a high ranking member of an intelligence agency aboard a space station and in 2010 a woman was the commanding officer aboard the Russian space craft that carried them to the location of the Discovery.

    He was wrong in his predictions of how far women would go in the 50 years following his books but there is no indication that it was because he was sexists. Quite the contrary in fact.

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