Happy Birthday Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan was a towering figure in science. He was born on November 9, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York, and died following a long battle with cancer on December 20, 1996, in Seattle, Washington. In between, in just 62 years, he reshaped public understanding of physics, astronomy, and space exploration. More than this, he was a leader in exploration and discovery, involved in many of the scientific teams behind truly ground-breaking space missions in the 1960s and 1970s, including the Apollo moon landings and the Viking missions to Mars.

I first started to encounter Carl Sagan as a popularizer of science while an undergraduate at University of Guelph, and wrote a couple of columns mentioning him for The Ontarion, the university’s newspaper, in the early 1980s. I briefly thought of pursuing grad work on exobiology but ended up continuing along with evolutionary ecology instead, at Guelph for a few more years. His influences are still all around us.

Visit the Carl Sagan Portal to experience a little of this amazing gentleman’s life and contributions: http://www.carlsagan.com/

Merry Christmas – a gift for the future

I cannot think of a more powerful message than that offered up by “Symphony of Science” (http://www.symphonyofscience.com/ – AKA John Boswell, AKA melodysheep) in their original music video, composed from the words of Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, in A Glorious Dawn. All of the work of this program, and this piece in particular, have captivated me since this past November, when I was introduced to them in a presentation on finding hope in a climate change universe, by Grant Linney.

My very low-cost present to you: enjoy, contemplate, be moved – and take action to help secure a positive, bright, and rational future for our children’s children’s children: