We always thought the living earth was a thing of beauty. It isn't. Life has had to learn to defend itself against the planet's random geological savagery.
I am afraid that this chapter will amply demonstrate the truth of Clarke's 69th Law, viz., Reading computer manuals without the hardware is as frustrating as reading sex manuals without the software. In both cases the cure is simple though usually very expensive.
We cannot predict the new forces, powers, and discoveries that will be disclosed to us when we reach the other planets and set up new laboratories in space. They are as much beyond our vision today as fire or electricity would be beyond the imagination of a fish.
SETI is probably the most important quest of our time, and it amazes me that governments and corporations are not supporting it sufficiently.
Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal.
We stand now at the turning point between two eras. Behind us is a past to which we can never return... The coming of the rocket brought to an end a million years of isolation... the childhood of our race was over and history as we know it began.
I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.
We seldom stop to think that we are still creatures of the sea, able to leave it only because, from birth to death, we wear the water-filled space suits of our skins.
The vendors seemed comical, so intent were they on their slivers of meaningless profit, all unaware of the desolate ages that lay in their own near future, their own imminent deaths.
2001 was written in an age which now lies beyond one of the great divides in human history; we are sundered from it forever by the moment when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out on to the Sea of Tranquility. Now history and fiction have become inexorably intertwined.
Our lifetime may be the last that will be lived out in a technological society.
Behind every man now alive stand 30 ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.
Science demands patience.
If the WormCam had shown nothing else, he thought, it was this, with pitiless clarity: that the lives of most humans had been miserable and short, deprived of freedom and joy and comfort, their brief moments in the light reduced to sentences to be endured.
If children have interests then education happens.
All explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest.
Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases: 1- It's completely impossible. 2- It's possible, but it's not worth doing. 3- I said it was a good idea all along.
Reading computer manuals without the hardware is as frustrating as reading manuals without the software.
Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Clarke's First Law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
The intelligent minority of this world will mark 1 January 2001 as the real beginning of the 21st century and the Third Millennium.
There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum.
As I approach my 90th birthday, my friends are asking how it feels like, to have completed 90 orbits around the Sun. Well, I actually don't feel a day older than 89!
A single test which proves some piece of theory wrong is more valuable than a hundred tests showing that idea might be true.