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Carl Sagan

Updated on August 22, 2014
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Nerd, cinephile, TV-junky, research-loving, left-leaning, science-fiending, atheist from the gutter. Follow me on Twitter @TheGutterMonkey.

Who is Carl Sagan?

Carl Edward Sagan was an astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science populizer. Through his books, lectures, and television show, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Sagan helped to bring science education to the general public. A strong proponent of evolution and the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI), Sagan had a strong Einsteinian faith and optimistic passion toward the universe and the billions upon billions of mysteries it held.

Sagan's rare, charismatic ability to convey complicated science to the public in a non-complicated way made him a great educator to the people. His works and teachings have lived on long after his death and he still continues to be an inspiration to science fans around the world.

Three reasons to love Carl Sagan

1.) With a deep passion and an undying optimism, Carl Sagan helped to show how fun and exciting the world of science can really be.

2.) Sagan's ability to convey his ideas allowed millions of ordinary people to better understand the cosmos.

3.) A strong proponent for the search for extra-terrestrial life, Sagan was the original believer that the truth was out there.

Books by Carl Sagan - Science isn't just for the scientists. Read these great titles with awe, inspiration, and hope for a fun, fascinating, and magnificent fut

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

In Cosmos, the late astronomer Carl Sagan cast his gaze over the magnificent mystery of the Universe and made it accessible to millions of people around the world. Now in this stunning sequel, Carl Sagan completes his revolutionary journey through space and time. Future generations will look back on our epoch as the time when the human race finally broke into a radically new frontier--space. In Pale Blue Dot Sagan traces the spellbinding history of our launch into the cosmos and assesses the future that looms before us as we move out into our own solar system and on to distant galaxies beyond. The exploration and eventual settlement of other worlds is neither a fantasy nor luxury, insists Sagan, but rather a necessary condition for the survival of the human race.

 
Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium
Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium

In this, his last book, Sagan applies what we know of science, mathematics, and space to everyday life, as well as to the exploration of many essential questions concerning the environment and our future. Ranging far and wide in subject matter, he takes his readers on a soaring journey, from the invention of chess to the possibility of life on Mars, from "Monday Night Football" to the relationship between the United States and Russia, from global warming to the abortion debate. And, on a more intimate note, we are given a rare glimpse of the author himself as he movingly describes his valiant fight for his life, his love for his family, and his personal beliefs about death and God.

 
Contact
Contact

"First contact" between humans and aliens has been a prominent topic of science fiction since its inception, but arguably no one has presented a more fascinating exploration of that theme than beloved astronomer Carl Sagan in this, his one and only novel. Sagan, who spent much of his professional career arguing for the likelihood of the existence of alien species, imagines an entirely rational scenario wherein an interstellar race reaches out to humanity through the universal language of mathematics. Eleanor "Ellie" Arroway uses radio telescopes to monitor the skies for signs of a transmission, and when she deducts a string of prime numbers hidden within a transcription of supposedly random noise, she recognizes it as a sign of intelligence. As Ellie digs further into the mysterious sequence, she discovers a set of instructions for building a spacecraft which she believes may enable her to visit with whoever sent the message. Though Ellie's unlikely plan eventually seems to come to fruition, she is unable to convince anyone that her spectacular encounter with an alien life form actually happened, and soon finds herself accused of engineering an intergalactic deception.

 
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Disturbingly, in our so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning, with alien abduction, "channeling" past lives, and communal hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect. In this compellingly brilliant new book, Carl Sagan argues that this is not just a cultural wrong turn, but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms. Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and authoritatively debunks modern pseudoscience, as well as such celebrated fallacies of the past as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. By doing so, he demonstrates that true scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth, but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions.

 
Cosmos
Cosmos

If NASA ever decides to launch a book into outer space as a token of our knowledge and an offering of good will to our interstellar neighbors, Carl Sagan's celestial opus would probably be the best choice. Widely acclaimed as the bestselling science book of all time, Sagan's discerning analysis of humanity's place in the incomprehensibly vast universe, first published in 1980, has begun to show its age in certain areas where new discoveries have been made, but Sagan's biggest ideas remain as relevant and revelatory as ever. With infectious enthusiasm and tremendous lucidity, Sagan explains how the universe (as we know it) has formed since the Big Bang, paying extra special attention to our "little" nook on the Orion Arm of the Milky Way. Sagan provides a stellar dose of perspective by simultaneously stressing our apparent insignificance in the face of such size and splendor and celebrating our ability to appreciate and even understand some of the seemingly miraculous processes and consequences which have compiled over time to allow for our existence.

 

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Cosmos
Cosmos

The best-selling science book ever published in the English language, COSMOS is a magnificent overview of the past, present, and future of science. Brilliant and provocative, it traces today's knowledge and scientific methods to their historical roots, blending science and philosophy in a wholly energetic and irresistible way.

 
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

"A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought." *Los Angeles Times"POWERFUL . . . A stirring defense of informed rationality. . . Rich in surprising information and beautiful writing." *The Washington Post Book WorldHow can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don't understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions.Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and authoritatively debunks such celebrated fallacies of the past as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. And yet, disturbingly, in today's so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning with stories of alien abduction, channeling past lives, and communal hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect. As Sagan demonstrates with lucid eloquence, the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong turn but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms."COMPELLING." *USA Today"A clear vision of what good science means and why it makes a difference. . . . A testimonial to the power of science and a warning of the dangers of unrestrained credulity." *The Sciences"PASSIONATE." *San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle

 
The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God
The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God

Carl Sagan's prophetic vision of the tragic resurgence of fundamentalism and the hope-filled potential of the next great development in human spirituality The late great astronomer and astrophysicist describes his personal search to understand the nature of the sacred in the vastness of the cosmos. Exhibiting a breadth of intellect nothing short of astounding, Sagan presents his views on a wide range of topics, including the likelihood of intelligent life on other planets, creationism and so-called intelligent design, and a new concept of science as "informed worship." Originally presented at the centennial celebration of the famous Gifford Lectures in Scotland in 1985 but never published, this book offers a unique encounter with one of the most remarkable minds of the twentieth century.

 
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

"FASCINATING . . . MEMORABLE . . . REVEALING . . . PERHAPS THE BEST OF CARL SAGAN'S BOOKS."--The Washington Post Book World (front page review)In Cosmos, the late astronomer Carl Sagan cast his gaze over the magnificent mystery of the Universe and made it accessible to millions of people around the world. Now in this stunning sequel, Carl Sagan completes his revolutionary journey through space and time.Future generations will look back on our epoch as the time when the human race finally broke into a radically new frontier--space. In Pale Blue Dot Sagan traces the spellbinding history of our launch into the cosmos and assesses the future that looms before us as we move out into our own solar system and on to distant galaxies beyond. The exploration and eventual settlement of other worlds is neither a fantasy nor luxury, insists Sagan, but rather a necessary condition for the survival of the human race."TAKES READERS FAR BEYOND Cosmos . . . Sagan sees humanity's future in the stars."--Chicago Tribune

 

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    • OHNO2011 profile image

      Millie Spearman 2 years ago

      Interesting stuff

    • tiagodamiao profile image

      Tiago Damião 2 years ago from Torres Novas

      Carl Sagan is The Man. ;)

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 4 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I loved Carl Sagan - so sad that he died too soon and too young in my hometown. I wish he was still among us sharing his knowledge of the cosmos.

    • karen-stephens profile image

      karen-stephens 4 years ago

      thanks for the great lens.. love the topic

    • AishwaryaTiwari1 profile image

      AishwaryaTiwari1 5 years ago

      Love the man, love his work, loved the book contact.

    • profile image

      cpearson1227 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great info. I'll be checking back.

    • profile image

      cpearson1227 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great info. I'll be checking back.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      Always like Carl Sagan. Interesting lens.

    • oxfordian profile image

      oxfordian 5 years ago

      I miss him so much. For years when I was growing up I seemed to hang on his every word. Whenever he was being interviewed, I made sure to watch or read it. Thanks so much for keeping him around. ***Angel blessed***

    • OHNO2011 profile image

      Millie Spearman 5 years ago

      Great information!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      I just wish Carl Sagan could have lived a long, healthy life and have seen all the progress that he was so enthusiastic about -- and helped the rest of us to share that enthusiasm by giving us the benefits of his insights and clear, understandable explanations. He was a great educator and is a loss to us all.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 6 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      Great Carl Sagan information and related products! This lens has been "blessed" by the Atheist SquidAngel.