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Thu Nov 9, 2023, 09:39 AM Nov 2023

Today is Carl Sagan Day. [View all]

Carl Sagan Day is observed on November 9 every year to celebrate his life and teachings.

An American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator, he is known for his many contributions to science.

Sagan helped lay the groundwork for two new scientific disciplines: planetary science and exobiology, or the study of potential life on other planets.

He co-founded and served as the first president of The Planetary Society, an organization dedicated to inspiring and involving the public in space exploration.

His best-known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including an experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation.

He also assembled the first physical messages sent into space that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might come across them. Sagan argued the now-accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect!


The day was created in 2009 by the Center For Inquiry in Fort Lauderdale, as well as Florida Atheists and Secular Humanists (FLASH), and other groups. Events held in Florida have helped spread the celebrations around the world. Events such as star parties — where people come together and view the sky — astronomy lectures, science fairs, and workshops are held every year.

Sagan worked in many scientific fields, such as astronomy, cosmology, astrophysics, and astrobiology. He is best known for his making scientific ideas accessible the general population, exemplified by his 1980 PBS documentary series, “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”, which was the most widely viewed PBS program of its time. It won two Emmys and a Peabody Award, and has been viewed by over a billion people in 60 countries. Sagan also published a book to go along with the series.

In fact, Sagan wrote more than 20 books, including The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence, which won a Pulitzer Prize, Contact, which was made into a film, and The Demon-Haunted World.
For 12 years, he was the editor-in-chief of Icarus, and published 600 scientific papers and articles in publications such as Skeptical Inquirer.

Beginning in the 1950s, Sagan was a consultant and adviser to NASA. He received countless honors and awards and was a professor of astronomy, as well as director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies, at Cornell University.
He passed away in 1996.

For millions, Carl Sagan created a sympathy for intelligence, curiosity, scientific inquiry. Sagan encouraged us away from human centric perspective toward a cosmic perspective, then to live with both.
He spread the feeling of awe.

"Look at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us.

On it everyone you love,
everyone you know,
everyone you ever heard of,
every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.
The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines,
every hunter and forager,
every hero and coward,
every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant,
every young couple in love,
every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer,
every teacher of morals,
every corrupt politician,
every "superstar,"
every "supreme leader,"
every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there -- on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.
Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner,
how frequent their misunderstandings,
how eager they are to kill one another,
how fervent their hatreds.
Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings,
our imagined self-importance,
the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.

In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life.
There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet.

Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.
There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.

To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
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Today is Carl Sagan Day. [View all] ancianita Nov 2023 OP
Happy Carl Sagan Day !!! - My Favorite Quote: JackCoop Nov 2023 #1
Happy Carl Sagan Day! I have so many favorites, I'll just start with this one: ancianita Nov 2023 #2
Hail Sagan! Timeflyer Nov 2023 #3
An extraordinary man who left us too soon. Deuxcents Nov 2023 #4
More from Carl ancianita Nov 2023 #5
I suspect that a Qanon person would interpret that completely differently from us. progressoid Nov 2023 #6
Likely, until they come across the scientific reality that precision is not accuracy, and so not the 'whole' truth. ancianita Nov 2023 #8
yep doin' this all day ancianita Nov 2023 #7
'Contact ' is one of my favorite science fictions. triron Nov 2023 #9
I heard the book is waay better than the movie, which is all I know of 'Contact.' I've read a couple of his, so ancianita Nov 2023 #10
Wonderful story with a fabulous, unexpected end! CrispyQ Nov 2023 #18
Millions and Billions of rec's! usonian Nov 2023 #11
Yes, big number cosmic rec's are for Carl! ancianita Nov 2023 #12
Why today? Because it's Carl's birthday! jaxexpat Nov 2023 #13
Carl's law of conservation of birthdays ancianita Nov 2023 #14
A similarity of singularities? Neato concept. jaxexpat Nov 2023 #22
I believe this is a brilliant idea Uncle Joe Nov 2023 #15
This is the quote that stays with me. redqueen Nov 2023 #16
Mine, too. I have the book, and underlined this. Carl as scientist, had more ideas to ancianita Nov 2023 #17
He was a very large influence on my life. Mr. Evil Nov 2023 #19
Sagan had as profound an influence on my personal values as any priest or bishop in 18 years... Moostache Nov 2023 #20
And another thing ancianita Nov 2023 #21
Happy Birthday, Carl -- you'd love today's technology, and would make sure that humans control AI. ancianita Nov 2023 #23
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