When I was in possibly the third grade I remember sitting in the library and being assigned the chore of choosing a biography about someone note worthy and do a presentation to the class. I grabbed one of the first books that looked remotely interesting. It was a biography about Carl Sagan.
I wish I could say it’s what inspired me to become a theoretical astrophysicist and prove string theory. Instead I was at least engaged in the book, enough so to complete the book and give a passable presentation.
Astrophysicist, Cosmologist, Teacher And Story Teller
It would have been nice if at the time the full depth of his writing, passion, and humble nature had struck me with more force when I first came into contact with his biography. But it was years to come before I recognized just what a legendary scientist, teacher and story teller he was. This brief, three minute and thirty one second video will be familiar to many, and if you have never seen it, you’ll get a return on your investment for every second spent watching it.
Arguably The Most Potent Force In The Popularization Of Science Since Albert Einstein
What Carl Sagan was most famous for was popularizing science. He wanted a more scientifically literate electorate and deeply desired that other people could enjoy the majesty of the Universe as much as he did. I can think of no one quite like Carl Sagan when it came to inspiring people to abandon the constraints of presumptions of the Universe and to think for themselves and to use science as the vehicle for their exploration of knowledge, or to fuel the passion of a budding student to aim to one day work for NASA, and for some the dream of exploring outer space and distant worlds.
In 1980 Carl Sagan wrote Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, also adapted into an award winning television series. An episode of Cosmos can be more inspiring and informative than most science courses. One of the many books he wrote was Contact, adapted into a film in 1997 starring Jodie Foster that was highly successful. The impact and success of his work stemmed from a palpable charisma and ability to articulate science on level that could understood by many and from varied angles, while communicating tools to judge one’s own beliefs to be true, or based on bad or insufficient evidence.
Thank you Carl Sagan, for all your work, and for pulling it off with humility and wisdom
Carl Sagan passed away December 20, 1996, but his ideas and ideals flourish still, evidenced by countless popular memes bearing his quotes, and judging by the number of likes and views the videos of him of his put up on You Tube get. The more people who appreciate this man’s perspective, better world we will live in. I would not say that of many men or woman, but it is because I have that much admiration for Carl Sagan that I do. The below video is an excerpt from his show Cosmos. I recommend watching the series; an entire episode can be devoted to understanding how the speed of light works, or about black holes, or even the ancient city of Alexandria.