December 20, 2006

Carl Sagan blog-a-thon

Today is the tenth anniversary of scientist and author Carl Sagan's death, and his son Nick Sagan is holding a blog-a-thon so the Internet can reflect on his life and career. When I was about 10 years old, I read Cosmos, the book based on the television series that brought Sagan much of his fame. That book is probably the one thing most responsible for my initial and continued interest in science, astronomy and history. Sagan also wrote other books, including a sci-fi tome called Contact that was later made into a phenomenal film. But Sagan's greatest gift was taking arcane scientific concepts and making them accessible to the public. In a big way he's indirectly responsible for things like the Discovery Channel, Bill Nye, and other programs that take science out of the lab and into the public. So, fellow nerds, how did Sagan's work affect you? Comment away.

4 comment(s) so far (Post your own)


On December 20, 2006 10:36 AM, I am Steven. said:

I still watch "Cosmos" on DVD at least once a year. It thrilled me 13 years ago when I saw it first, and it still does today. I was most sad to hear of his death, mostly because no one was there to pick up and carry his torch. Al Gore may be carrying it for the environment now, but, as the finale of Cosmos asks, "Who speaks for Earth?"


On December 20, 2006 1:41 PM, Lester said:

Random thoughts about _Cosmos_:
- It taught me what a "google" is, long before it became a name/verb for something completely different.
- Because it was TV, it was able to visually illustrate concepts that can be hard to grasp or appreciate via the written word, like the age of the universe or interplanetary distances.
- Beautiful synth TV theme song (the original one, not the one they used for the 90's updated series)


On December 20, 2006 1:57 PM, Warren Frey said:

Yeah, if you go to the Car Sagan website linked to above, the opening music from Cosmos loads up, and it makes for a nice, subtle backdrop to the site itself.

I remember not only watching Cosmos on TV but at the old planetarium in Edmonton (screw you, flashy Space Science Centre!), and simultaneously getting whomped with knowledge of the night sky, how life evolved and ancient history. All the stuff about the Library of Alexandria in particular fascinated me, and it's probably why I'd like to visit the Middle East (minus Iraq, of course) sometime.


On December 20, 2006 2:47 PM, I am Steven. said:

That theme was by Vangelis (of "Chariots of Fire" fame), and I have it on a few CDs in my car - ready for thr right moments.

I love the circa 1980 BBC production values, like the Scene-Sync that was used to allow Carl to walk through the Library of Alexandria (the same effect was first used in the 1980 Doctor Who serial "Meglos").

When next I go to the American Southwest, I am totally going to nerd it up and go to the Very Large Array after seeing it on the show (and "Contact, as well). I went to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ in 2003 and stood with giddy glee at the exact same spot that Sagan stood during an episode of "Cosmos".

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