“2001: A Space Odyssey“ author Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who spent most of his life in the country he fell in love with and explored with much enthuisiasm. Sri Lanka, was not only a celebrated science fiction writer. He also inspired genuine science. When Clarke served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, he was a radar specialist of the GCA (Ground Control Approach) developed to enable allied bombers to return safely to the airport during nighttime and even bad weather conditions. It was during this period that he sold his first science fiction stories. In one of his novel, “Glide Path”, he fictionalised his GCA experience.
In 1951 Arthur C. Clarke suggested a mission to the moon and estimated it would be realized in 1978. More important for our everyday life, it was Arthur C. Clarke’s idea that the world should be connected through geostationary satellites. He published this idea in a paper titled "Extra-Terrestrial Relays - Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?". It was published in the Wireless World magazine already in October 1945. This is why the only geostationary orbit was named Clarke Belt in his honour. For this concept he also received the Marconi Award in 1982. For Sri Lankans Sir Arthur C. Clarke is probably the most celebrated honorary citizen.
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