On March 18th, the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke died in his home in Sri Lanka at the age of 90. A master developer and assembler of ideas, Clarke will be remembered fondly by many for igniting their enthusiasm for science, and how it might be used to better our lives. His passing leaves a hole in the ranks of science heroes who inspire us to look beyond the obvious, and question the unquestionable.
My early childhood was full of the stories of Clarke, Asimov and others, and without a doubt these writers set me on a path to exploring how the world works and how we can extend our reach with this knowledge. Clarke had the knack of taking what was known, and pushing it that little bit further into the realms of the “what if…?”. In doing so, he was the perfect foil to the established scientific community; asking the questions others shied away from and stimulating the process of discovery and development afresh. But he also excelled at raising scientific consciousness across the board, and sowing the seeds of effective and informed science engagement. Read the rest of this entry »