Sir Arthur C. Clarke was one of the greatest futurists and science-fiction writers of the twentieth century. He authored some one hundred books, including 2001: A Space Odyssey. He cowrote the screenplay for the film of the same name with Stanley Kubrick, who directed and produced the movie.
Sir Arthur was a longtime secular humanist. He signed Humanist Manifesto 2000 and was a Laureate of the Council for Secular Humanism’s International Academy of Humanism. He thoroughly enjoyed reading Free Inquiry and helped promote the journal. In 2006, he sent a message of encouragement to the Nigerian Humanist Movement in honor of its tenth anniversary celebration and conference.
Sir Arthur’s imaginative scientific writing predicted a worldwide system of satellites, cell phones, space stations, and the Internet. Highly influential astronomers, U.S. astronauts, and Soviet cosmonauts accredited him with helping to initiate the age of space exploration.
Born in Britain, Sir Arthur moved to Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1956. In 1962, he suffered a polio attack that left him weakened. Since 1984, he struggled with post-polio syndrome and was confined to a wheelchair in his later years.
He received numerous science-fiction awards, including the Hugo and the British Science Fiction Association awards. In 1994, he received a nomination for a Nobel Prize, and, in 1998, Queen Elizabeth II knighted him.
Sir Arthur left strict instructions that there were to be “absolutely no religious rites of any kind” at his funeral. He also requested a funeral without politicians. However, he was buried at a cemetery in Colombo on March 22, 2008, with a Catholic priest and about a dozen Buddhist monks in attendance. The Sri Lankan government asked its citizens to observe a moment of silence in his honor.
He will be remembered for his impressive contributions to the prolific growth of scientific knowledge during his lifetime.