Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke is considered to be one of the grand masters of the science fiction genre alongside Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. His works tend to focus around space travel itself, now thought to be standard to any science fiction work, but it was not very well known or understood during his time. He began working with radar equipment during World War II, and earned a degree in mathematics and physics after the war. His works often presented different methods of interstellar travel, from deep long "cold sleep" voyages to faster-than-light speed systems. He also dipped into concepts of computing and bioengineering. One of his most direct contributions to society was the idea of using a geostationary satellite as a telecommunications device, something that the NSA is certainly thankful for, amirite?
His best-known works of science fiction are the 2001 series and Rendezvous with Rama, though he wrote many novels and short stories between 1948 and 2007, as well as the Chronicles of the Strange and Mysterious series which documented real-life sci-fi-style weird shit. He earned many honors throughout his life, including knighthood from the United Kingdom and the highest civilian honor from his adopted homeland, Sri Lanka. He predicted many of the internet-based conveniences we take for granted today in an interview from 1974. The Arthur C. Clarke Award is given to the best science fiction novels that are first published in the United Kingdom.
Clarke is also known for the three rules which bear his name, often quoted and which have influenced science fiction immensely. These are:
1. 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.
2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.