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Arthur C Clarke with telescope on a Sri Lankan beach, 1970s Clarke, Arthur C. (1917-2008)

Arthur C Clarke is a visionary science-fiction writer who suggested the principles for the 'geostationary' communication satellites that now orbit the earth but stay in exactly the same position above it.

Moving to London from Somerset in 1936, he joined the British Interplanetary Society where he started to consider astronautics in detail, which led to writing science-fiction books. Clarke looked at space as both fantasy and reality and his inspired ideas, often way ahead of their time, would point the direction where science could go.

Although he never directly built the mechanics, his enthusiasm encouraged others to do so instead. His ideas for geostationary satellites were published in 1945 but it wasn't until the 1960s space era when they could be put into practice. It earned him, alongside many awards, the honour of having the orbit path named after him - 'The Clarke Orbit'.

As well as books, Clarke has written and presented television programmes and also shared an Oscar award nomination with Stanley Kubrick for scripting the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...