Arthur C. Clarke

The Arthur C. Clarke Centennial Celebration is Tomorrow

Asha De Vos remembers Arthur C Clarke.

I was 17 years old, and the head of the Young Science Fiction Association - a group with more words in it's title, than members. We had asked Arthur C. Clarke to be our patron, and he asked me to drop by to find who we were, and what we were about. 

Whatever pitch I had, was likely useless. What convinced him was probably me being dumbstruck by all his books in the "Clarkives" as he called them. 

"See all these books?" he said.
"They're yours."

So began a very trying year of trying to come up with some sort of library to house the collection in. We succeeded - and then had to close it down. The gap year was ending, funds were low, and we had to be sure the books didn't end up being given away to wrap vadays in. So we gave it to my school library, where I hope, they still are. 

Many Sri Lankan Geeks have their own Arthur C Clarke stories, whether they're personal encounters, his books we've read, or other sources that were in turn heavily influenced by a writer audacious enough to but real science in his science fiction. 

Here are some videos by the Arthur C Clarke Trust, where Sri Lankans talk about Arthur. 

Tomorrow (Saturday, the 16th), is the Arthur's Centenary Celebration, sponsored by the Geek Club of Sri Lanka. Venue and times here. 

Me at 17, with my buddy Constantin, the school librarian, and Dr. Clarke.

Me at 17, with my buddy Constantin, the school librarian, and Dr. Clarke.

Big Data and Astronomy: Thilina Heenatigala will speak at the Arthur C Clarke Centennial


Thilina Heenatigala, an astronomy educator at the Leiden Observatory in The Netherlands, will be speaking at the Arthur C. Clarke Centennial Celebration, this weekend. He'll be talking about how Big Data is being used in astronomy.


From his brief: 

"Time just stopped for me, I think it stopped for everybody. My heart stopped. My breathing stopped," a 51-year-old Clarke said, describing how it felt to watch the lunar module touch down on the Apollo 11 mission.

The USB memory stick today is more powerful than the computers that put humans on the moon in the 60s. Decades later, the field of astronomy is generating astronomical size data. From 140 gigabits of raw science data every week produced by Hubble Space Telescope, upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope expected to produce 20 terabits per night, to the future Square Kilometre Array facility expected to produce more data than we have on the entire Internet now. How does astronomers handle these big data? How are citizens helping that?"


Thilina is also a collaborator of International Astronomical Union's Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) and Office for Astronomy Outreach (OAO). He also served as the General Secretary of Sri Lanka Astronomical Association which was founded by Sir Arthur C Clarke.

Thilina enjoys writing poetry and black & white photography while travelling.


The Arthur C. Clarke Centennial Celebration is this weekend on Saturday at Trace Expert City. It marks 100 years since the birth of Arthur C Clarke, one of science fiction's most influential writers.  The ACC 100 is sponsored by Calcey Technologies