Monday, July 30, 2007

Carl Sagan, An Introduction

I had dinner with a friend tonight. We discussed science and art. She had a great book that had all kinds of maps made by peoples of the past that explained their conception of the world at the time. It depicted how humanity's thinking about reality changes over time. The book included topics on art, math, astronomy, religion, and more. It reminded me a lot of Carl Sagan's Cosmos series. As a child, my family showed me this series on PBS. Sagan's expansive thinking and encyclopedic knowledge about the universe and the Earth astonished me and planted the seed of critical thinking and reason in my mind.

Love for Humanity

Many astronomers and scientists have a vast amount of knowledge about their subjects. Sagan had another trait that too few other people have, scientist or not. He had a love for humanity and remained patient and tolerant of all questions and all ideas asked to him. After all, he realized that if he were rude or short with people, then he would lose their respect because people don't like to be talked down to as if they are ignorant just for seeking answers to questions that may not impact their daily business. Because of this, he was able to interact with people from all kinds of backgrounds and belief systems. He sought to engage people at the level of their humanity. I've written about this in my essay "The Eternally Curious Carl Sagan" earlier in my blog.

More Resources

Find out much more about Sagan here:

  1. Cosmos, A Personal Voyage:
  3. Cosmos video clips:


I wanted to provide a few YouTube videos and other resources to get a quick introduction to him and his work.


New Stories on the Day Sagan Died

Sagan is remembered by many of his students, both those who attended his classes, and those, like me, who he taught through his Cosmos series, as one of the best teachers of all-time. Aristotle said that "Teaching is the highest form of understanding." Another friend of mine emailed me today and said he has decided to become a teacher because so many young people have no one to guide them and no one to look up to. I was very proud of him.

This video shows news footage covering how people remembered Sagan on the day he died.

Cosmos: We Are Star Stuff

Evolution, on a GRAND scale!

Pale Blue Dot

This photograph is of the Earth, as seen from Voyager 1, some 4 billion miles away from Earth!

Read more about this photograph at

Carl Sagan's Cosmos for Rednecks (Family Guy)

This is a humorous depiction of Sagan :-D

Cosmos: Stellar Nursery

This is an excellent clip from Cosmos about stellar nurseries.

Cosmos: The Edge of Forever

This is quite poignant.

Cosmos: Nuclear War

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