‘Are Us’ Fact: In 1969, Carl Sagan wrote under the Pseudonym “Mr. X” about the virtues of cannabis. (Article link)
Favorite Quote: “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1934, Sagan came into the world from two immigrants settling in the United States. Fascinated by stars at a young age, Carl received a library card from his mother, this eventually sparked on a journey to know.
At the University of Chicago, Sagan received four degrees, completing his Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1960. During his time at University, Carl become fond in working with the origins of life, later writing his thesis on the origins of life with collaboration H. C. Urey.
Later, Sagan eventually became a full professor at Cornell in 1971 and taught there until his death in 1996. Some main contributions to his career include his advocacy for NASA. (Pictured: Pioneer Plaque, a plaque mounted onto both robotic space probes Pioneer 10 & 11.) He assisted in briefing the Apollo crew as they ensued their voyage to the moon. Publishing over 600 scientific papers, Sagan contributed to the notion of a hot surface on Venus, hypothesize Titan, one of Saturn’s moons with the possibility of an oceans and many more contributions.
Though Dr. Carl Sagan did much research, he was also heavy in science communication. Winning the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for his Book “Dragons of Eden: Speculation of the Evolution of Human Intelligence” Sagan was viewed, revolutionary. Three years later he had won an Emmy for his work on the 1980’s 13 part series “Cosmos”. In 1997, his book “Contact” was made into a feature film dedicating his life in science, communication, curiosity and so forth. Here’s to you Sagan.
Sagan, C., & Steele, F. R. (1996). The demon-haunted world: Science as a candle in the dark. New York: Headline.
Sagan, C. (2012). Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the evolution of human intelligence. Ballantine Books.