Carl Sagan Blog-a-thon Today: Celebrating a Scientist and Inspiration

Surf through the scienceblog world, and you might find a number of reflections on a man who is a hero to many: Carl Sagan. Today is the 10th anniversary of his passing, and among other things, a blog-a-thon is being held in his memory.

I touched on Sagan a little bit in my post “Scientists May Have Already Saved the World, Just by Observing It!“… and if you somehow managed to get through life this far without hearing his short “Pale Blue Dot” speech, you owe it to yourself to check that video out (it’s the last video on that page, and you can find many versions of it on youtube.

I’m too young to really remember Sagan as a cultural force, and in some sense it seems like the decade I’ve been most active and aware of science and culture in is a lot poorer after his passing. My take on the man, looking back rather than remembering, is sadness that there has not really been anyone in the popular culture to take his place. There are tons of fantastic science journalists and bloggers and writers and even popularizers like Bill Nye out there today, many of whom owe their careers to the wonder that Sagan sparked in them. But there’s been so far no one to replace him as a singular public figure and advocate.

Some things can’t be replaced.

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4 Responses to Carl Sagan Blog-a-thon Today: Celebrating a Scientist and Inspiration

  1. He was a brilliant man who died far too young. He had a rare combination of traits: his scientific credentials were impeccable, and yet he came across as warm and approachable. He made non-scientists want to learn more about science.

    “Contact” remains one of my favorite novels. It’s a shame he didn’t live long enough to see it made into a movie. One wonders what he would have thought of it.

  2. anxiousmofo says:

    Thank you: I had made it this far without having heard his “Pale Blue Dot” speech, and I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.

    Reading “Cosmos” as an 11-year-old is really the thing that made me appreciate science and made me realize that what science had to say about the origins of the Universe was much richer and more interesting than what the religion I grew up in had to say. Sagan is one of the writers I owe my atheism, skepticism, and love of science to.

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