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Sir Arthur C. Clarke to be feted on 90th birthday

A felicitation ceremony organised by the Foreign Ministry to mark the 90th birthday of Sir Arthur C. Clarke will be held at the Central Bank Auditorium under President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s patronage tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama will deliver the welcome address while the special guest of honour will be world renowned astronaut Dr. Alexey Leonov of Russia who was the first man to walk in space.

He is due to present Sir Arthur C. Clarke a medal from the Federation of Cosmonautics of Russia and deliver an address on ‘Sir Arthur C Clarke: A personal memoir’.

Dr. Michael E. Zolensky, a member of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Sub Committee of the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division will speak on ‘The influence of Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s vision on the future of space exploration’.

Prof. U.A. Rao, Chairman, Physical Research Laboratory of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will speak on ‘The information revolution in developing countries and Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s contribution’.

Dr. Sajid Mirza, member (Space Technology), Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) will speak on `Prospects and challenges in the future of space research’.

Dr. Sarath Gunapala, the Principal Engineer of the Device Research and Applications Section, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA) in Pasadena, California will speak on the `Benefits of space science to developing countries’.

Members of diplomatic corps, political leaders, representatives of Sri Lanka’s scientific community and several others will participate in this felicitation ceremony.

-------------------

Sir Arthur C Clarke and Sri Lanka

Sir Arthur C Clarke is the author of over 100 books and more than 1,000 essays or short stories. Born in Minehead, Somerset, UK, in 1917, he was educated at Huish’s Grammar School, Taunton and King’s College, London. He worked in the British civil service and the Royal Air Force before turning full time author and explorer in 1950.

He is best known as the inventor of the communications satellite (1945). His writing also inspired the World Wide Web and the Apollo project that landed men on the Moon. He has made many appearances on radio and television, and his TV series ‘Mysterious World,’ ‘World of Strange Powers’ and ‘Mysterious Universe’ have been seen worldwide.

In the 1950s, Clarke’s interest in underwater exploration brought him to Sri Lanka, where he has lived since 1956. He is technical advisor to the diving company Underwater Safaris Ltd., and for half a century, he has written and broadcast extensively promoting Sri Lanka as a tourist destination.

He became the first ‘Resident Guest’ of the island in 1975 (but he remains a British citizen). President J.R. Jayewardene appointed him Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa in 1979 a position Clarke held until 2002.

In 1984, the Sri Lankan Government named a newly established Institute for Modern Technologies in his honour. While Clarke remains its Patron, he is not associated with its research, administration or management.

Clarke has received many awards, fellowships and honours from around the world, including several doctorates. He shared with Stanley Kubrick on Oscar nomination in 1969 for his screenplay of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. He was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998 for ‘Services to Literature’.

Sri Lanka has bestowed on him the highest honours, including:

* Vidya Jothi (‘Luminary of Science) award from the President of Sri Lanka, 1986.

* Shityaratna (‘Gem of Literature’) lifetime achievement award from National Arts Council, Sri Lanka, 2005.

* Lankabhimanya (‘Pride of Lanka’), highest civilian honour from the President of Sri Lanka, 2005.

Clarke has been affected by Post Polio Syndrome for several years, and is now completely wheel-chaired.

He continues to write and participate in academic, policy and technical discussions of national and global interest. He has no plans to leave Sri Lanka .

For further biographical and bibliographical information visit the webiste of the Arthur C Clarke Foundation, a US-based not-for-profit organization. http://www.clarkefoudation.org’

 

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