Arthur Charles Clarke was born at Minehead, Somerset on December 16, 1917 as the eldest of four children, and was educated at Huish's Grammar School, Taunton. His obsession with science and technology began when he started reading Sci-Fi magazines such as Amazing and Astounding, as well as the work of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. At fifteen began writing for his school magazine, and became an avid stargazer. He moved to London at the age of 19, to work at H.M. Exchequer & Audit Department, and became the treasurer of the British Interplanetary Society where he helped them write the sociey newsletter Bulletin, and supporting himself by publishing articles in Tales of Wonder.
In 1941 the Second World War caused Clarke to join the RAF where he became the Flight Lieutenant in charge of running the first ever radar talk-down equipment, known as the GCA (Ground Controlled Approach) radar that aided the pilots when they attempted to land in inclement weather. Military service didn't stop him writing though, and he sold his first book 'Loophole' in 1945, the same year as he developed the basic theory of the geostationary orbit, still known in some circles as the Clarke Orbit, as well as many other principles of the communication satellite, and published his ideas in an essay called "Extraterestial Relays" in the magazine Wireless World. These ideas became reality 25 years after this publication when, in 1982, the first communication satellite was launched, and Clarke was awarded many scientific honours including the 1982 Marconi International Fellowship, a gold medal of the Franklin Institute, the Vikram Sarabhai Professorship of the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, the Fellowship of King's College, London and the Lindbergh Award.
After Clarke was demobbed in 1946, he turned to academia, and married an American, Marilyn Mayfield on June 15, 1953, a relationship which only lasted six months, and proved to Clarke that he "wasn't the marrying type". He took First Class Honours in Physics and Mathematics at King's College, London in 1948, after which he became the Assistant Editor of Physics Abstracts at the Institution of Electrical Engineers.
Since 1952, Arthur C. Clarke has been a full time author, and started to lose interest in space exploration, and look towards the sea for his inspiration. He moved to Sri Lanka, and continued his work, writing several fiction and nonfiction books and articles about the Indian Ocean. He took up skin diving and photography, but in 1962 suffered a head injury which left him partially paralysed, a condition which is further hampered by his post-polio syndrome.
In 1964 Clarke started to work on a science-fiction screenplay for the film director Stanley Kubrick. In 1968 the movie became a reality and 2001: A Space Odessy became huge hit, and is consdered by many to be a milestone in cinematography. He worked on the sequel novel to 2001 called 2010: Odyssey Two His thirteen-part TV serie Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World in 1981 and Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers in 1984 which has now been screened in many countries.
During his career, Clarke has published over seventy books and made many appearances on radio and TV, including the famous Apollo broadcasts alongside Walter Cronkite .He is a Council Member of the Society of Authors, a Vice-President of the H. G. Wells Society and has recived an Oscar Nomination for the Screenplay of 2001: A Space Odyssey. He was awarded the rank of Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1989 and knighted in 1998 for his 'Services to Literature' but he still lives in Colombo, in Sri Lanka, with his adopted family, Hector & Valerie Ekanayake, and their children, who help him run his scuba diving outfit, Underwater Safaris.
A (relatively) complete biography can be found at http://web.csuchico.edu/~aparna/authorrichard.html