Arthur C. Clarke Foundation Confers Honors for Lifetime Achievement, Innovation, and Imagination

April 10, 2012

Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 10, 2012 – The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation this week will honor the winners of the 2012 Arthur C. Clarke Lifetime Achievement, Innovator, and Imagination awards. The Imagination Award, bestowed for the first time, was established in Sir Arthur’s memory to recognize compelling and lasting efforts by an individual or group to advance the application of human imagination and creativity.

The Arthur C. Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes “an individual, a group or an entity that exemplifies the values and accomplishments of Sir Arthur’s life. The award honors substantial and enduring contributions that relate the sciences and arts in meeting the challenges of contemporary life and the needs of tomorrow.”

The 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award winner is Vinton G. Cerf, widely known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet.” Cerf is the co-inventor of the architecture and the basic protocols of the Internet.

In 1997 President Bill Clinton presented the U.S. National Medal of Technology to Cerf and his colleague, Robert E. Kahn, for founding and developing the Internet. Kahn and Cerf were named the recipients of the ACM Alan M. Turing award in 2004 for their work on the Internet protocols. The Turing award is sometimes called the “Nobel Prize of Computer Science.” In November 2005, President George Bush awarded Cerf and Kahn the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the United States to its citizens. In April 2008, Cerf and Kahn received the prestigious Japan Prize.

Cerf has served as Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google since October 2005. In this role, he is responsible for identifying new enabling technologies to support the development of advanced, Internet-based products and services from Google. Cerf also served at MCI, the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Agency (DARPA), and as a member of the Stanford University faculty.

This year’s Innovator Award honoree is Pradman Kaul, President of Hughes Network Systems, LLC. Kaul is being recognized for his sustained leadership in advancing satellite communications.

Since heading up the engineering team in a Maryland garage start-up that invented satellite networking using VSATs (very small aperture terminals) in the mid-1980s, and then growing it as chief executive of Hughes Network Systems into a billion dollar company, Pradman Kaul has been a leading force in the worldwide satellite industry. He has spearheaded the development of satellite networks for commercial applications globally, and is widely recognized for contributions in both business and technology spheres.

In October 2004, Kaul was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering. He also was selected as a “Distinguished Engineering Alumnus” of the University of California, Berkeley, in 1999 and “Distinguished Alumnus” at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 2005. He was awarded the IEEE Third Millennium medal in 2000. In 2009, Kaul was inducted into the Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) Hall of Fame and was awarded “Satellite Executive of the Year 2008″ by Via Satellite magazine.

He holds numerous patents and has published articles and papers on a variety of technical topics concerning satellite communications.

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, was selected by the Foundation as its first-ever Imagination honoree. An internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation, Sir Ken works with governments in Europe, Asia, and the United States, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations.

In 1998, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim in 1999. He was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province.

He was been honored with the Peabody Medal for contributions to the arts and culture in the United States, the LEGO Prize for international achievement in education, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Royal Society of Arts for outstanding contributions to cultural relations between the United Kingdom and the United States. In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts.

“This year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award winners exemplify the broad expanse of themes and initiatives undertaken in the name of Sir Arthur, and reflect the continuing growth of the Foundation and its mission,” Foundation chairman Tedson J. Meyers said. “We’re reminded that when young Arthur Clarke published his astounding 1945 paper detailing precisely how to place a satellite in orbit, his original title was ‘The Future of World Communication.’

“With Vint Cerf’s finding the language and Pradman Kaul’s strength-ening the route, we have honorees whose achievements embody Clarke’s dream of raising human dialogue to unprecedented levels.

“In Sir Ken Robinson,” Meyers added, “we have an ideal reminder of Clarke’s scope of imagination – from physicist and mathematician to world class science fiction writer. Thus, the vitality of human imagination is key among our goals. Ken Robinson’s work in that field gives us an inspiring boost this year as we turn to that work in full force.“

Past Clarke Lifetime Achievement winners are the first Intelsat director general, Santiago Astrain, Eutelsat chairman Giuliano Berretta, retired Space Systems/Loral chairman Robert Berry, science fiction writer Ben Bova, CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkite, former Matra Marconi Space board chairman Claude Goumy, inventor and futurist Raymond Kurzweil, and physicist Dr. Freeman Dyson.

Past Clarke Innovator winners include Robert Bigelow, Dr. S. Joseph Campanella, Dr. Brad Edwards, NASA scientist S. Pete Worden, D.K. Sachdev, Cornell University professor and Mars Rover program team leader Steven Squyres, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

The 2012 Arthur C. Clarke Awards will be presented before an invited audience at Intelsat headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, April 12, 2012.

For information, contact Foundation Secretary Scott Chase at or 301/879-1613.

UPDATE: watch the awards presentation video here.