The • Future • Project
Avenir Futuro Zukunft Future
2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey has inspired more research and innovation than any book or film of its genre. Of the few Science Fiction classics that have predicted new technologies with any degree of accuracy, only 2001 has consistently shaped the real world to more closely match the future it depicted. A broad sampling of those involved in scientific and technical fields inevitably reveals a disproportionate number of 2001 fans. In fact, it’s not uncommon for such individuals to say that seeing 2001 for the first time was the reason they originally became interested in their chosen disciplines. There are even those who credit 2001 with planting seeds of thought and inspiring investigations which wouldn’t have normally
occurred to them, ultimately leading to breakthroughs they might not have otherwise achieved. Given the film’s lasting influence on so many members of the scientific community, some might say 2001 is nothing less than a tapestry of interdependent, self-fulfilling prophecies. 2001 owes much of its prescient nature to the design and consulting services of Harry Lange and Fredrick Ordway. Lange, an East German expatriate and skilled illustrator, had made a name for himself designing NASA spacecraft. Ordway, meanwhile, was an aerospace professional who’d worked in Huntsville with legendary German rocketry expert Wernher von Braun.
It took Stanley Kubrick’s masterful direction and Arthur C. Clarke’s gifted writing to weave 2001’s various elements into an unforgettable story, but it’s here that we recognize the work of Lange and Ordway. Their hard work and expertise simultaneously gave 2001 a plausible foundation in reality while at the same time prompting our best and brightest to push the envelope of possibility.