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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Carl Sagan

This is going to be a brief post -I've got quite a lot going on this weekend academically.

My wonderful boyfriend bought me a copy of Carl Sagan's book Cosmos, and wow. I have always loved reading about planets and outer space and that sort of thing, and Carl Sagan is the perfect author for that. His enthusiasm for knowledge is infectious, as is his deeply genuine pleasure in connecting with readers through his words.

Sagan died 14 years ago, and I'm just now discovering his writing, which is sad to me. I'm already a huge fan. I've bough his book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it as well.

Sagan is the perfect author for the science dilettante. He gives the reader a huge amount of technical information in a simply eloquent way that makes it accessible to any reader, however basic their understanding of the actual science being discussed. Cosmos is a truly inspiring book for an examination of the worlds around us, and every time I read it, I get a thrill.

The Demon-Haunted World is slightly broader in its topics. It is a collection of essays based on the importance of science, which includes dispelling scientific myths. Sagan does so in his characteristically pleasant way. Even when he is writing about something that would be offensive to, say, a Biblical literalist, I think it would be impossible to actually be angry at him. He writes in such a calm, placid way that it's like reading a song.

I cannot recommend his books enough to anyone who has even the barest interest in the sciences.


  1. How did I not know he was dead? That brings me the sad.

  2. Cosmos is a masterwork. I first read Sagan about ten years ago and was sad to learn he was already dead -- how does this always happen?! If you've seen the movie Contact, you should read the book. It's far better than the film, as is usually the case.

  3. I loved Sagan.
    His book "Pale Blue Dot" was the last thing of his I read. It must have come out around the time he died.

  4. It's good to see Sagan is still popular! :)

    Josh -sorry I had to be the one to break the news to you! Have you seen any of the Symphony of Science videos? They might make the sad go away. ;)

    Adrienne -I'll be sure to read the book. I've never seen the movie, but I prefer to read the books first anyway. :)

    Al, I will definitely have to check out "Pale Blue Dot" -I'm completely hooked on his writing.