All that we have seen is something of a vast and intricate and lovely universe. There is no particular theological conclusion that comes out of an exercise such as the one we have just gone through. What is more, when we understand something of the astronomical dynamics, the evolution of worlds, we recognize that worlds are born and worlds die, they have lifetimes just as humans do, and therefore that there is a great deal of suffering and death in the cosmos is a great deal of life.
– Dr. Carl Sagan. ‘The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God.’ Edited by Ann Druyan from the 1985 Gifford Lectures. Published in 2006.
Thanks again go to Larry Klaes for bringing this to our attention.
Religion and science do not have to be at odds. Science, said Ann Druyan, widow of Cornell astronomer Carl Sagan, can communicate with, learn from and even benefit from religion and vice versa.
Druyan, a writer and media producer who collaborated with Sagan for 19 years until his death in 1996, reflected on dialogues in the early 1990s between Sagan and the Dalai Lama at a Sept. 28 lecture in Anabel Taylor Auditorium. For the first time, film excerpts of the meeting between the two were shown in a public venue.
Sagan, Cornell professor and author of “Cosmos,” “Contact” and “Dragons of Eden,” among other books, was perhaps best known for his extraordinary ability to communicate science to the public. “He wanted to share with everyone the wonder and awe that science inspired in him,” Druyan said.
She stressed that there were political motivations behind Sagan’s work as well: “Carl believed that you can’t have a democratic society if you have a tiny scientific elite and a public who is uncomfortable with the methods and language of science,” she said.
Click here to read the whole article from Cornell University’s Chronicle Online.
Hello fellow Saganites,
On this Carl Sagan commemoration day let me direct you to another wonderful web page entitled “The Cosmic Clock” part of the equally fantastic CosmicVoyage : Tribute to Carl Sagan and Cosmos.
The Cosmic Clock will help you to explore the birth and development of our cosmos. Spanning some 15 billion years, the clock highlights significant events that occurred along the history of the universe as described by modern cosmological theory.
This tour through time, although brief, is one in which all members of our civilization should be familiar.
After all, humans have endeavored to understand our beginnings for eons. Now, we are finally beginning to know!”!
Alex Michael Bonnici
We produce a radio show in the UK called Little Atoms. We have a special edition commemorating Carl Sagan this Friday 22nd December.
This is the listing for the show:
“The 20th December 2006 marks the tenth anniversary of the death of the astronomer, astrobiologist and populariser of science Carl Sagan. This program will explore aspects of the life, work and influence of Sagan, and includes a number of short interviews with Sagan’s family, friends and former colleagues.
Contributors include Ann Druyan, Founder of the Carl Sagan Foundation and wife of Carl’s for nearly 20 years until his death. Louis Friedman, co-founder with Sagan and current Executive Director of The Planetary Society, Steven Soter, Research Associate, Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, and collaborator with Sagan on the Emmy award winning television series ‘Cosmos: A Personal Journey’, Carolyn Porco, Senior Research Scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of
Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder, member of the Imaging team on the Voyager missions, and leader of the Cassini-Huygens imaging team, and A.C. Grayling, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, Rationalist, skeptic and Little Atoms favorite”.
The show is an hour long, and is broadcast between 4:30pm and 5:30pm UK time. It will also be available to download from our website Friday morning (UK time again).
Ann Druyan and I talk briefly about the blog-a-thon on the show.
This video from 1963 shows a rehearsed Sagan discussing the atmosphere of Venus.
Fortunately, two interviews from the last two years of Sagan’s life are available to watch on Video.Google.
Or, if you prefer, you can check out the audio from these interviews on the Sounds of Sagan, on the sidebar.
Carl Sagan was also an occasional guest on Talk of the Nation’s Science Friday. It was on this NPR program that I first came across the good Doctor, and it certainly had an obvious and lasting impact on me as an eighth grader.
I have added an excerpt from the May 5 (3), 1996 interview with Sagan to the Sounds of Sagan. For the whole hour of programing check out NPR’s site.