Carl Sagan quotes
Birthdate: 9. November 1934
Date of death: 20. December 1996
Other names: Karl Seýgan
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences. He is best known as a science popularizer and communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the now accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect.Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of Eden, Broca's Brain and Pale Blue Dot, and narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The most widely-watched series in the history of American public television, Cosmos has been seen by at least 500 million people across 60 different countries. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. He also wrote the science fiction novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. His papers, containing 595,000 items, are archived at The Library of Congress.Sagan advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence . He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Dragons of Eden, and, regarding Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, and the Hugo Award. He married three times and had five children. After suffering from myelodysplasia, Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996.
Quotes Carl Sagan
Source: Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium
The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God (2006)
Context: The amount of organic matter that could have been produced in the first few hundred million years of Earth history was sufficient to have produced in the present ocean a several-percent solution of organic matter. This is just about the dilution of Knorr's chicken soup, and not that different from the composition either. And chicken soup is widely known to be good for life.
„Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar", every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.“
Source: Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (1994), p. 8, Supplemental image at randi.org http://www.randi.org/images/122801-BlueDot.jpg
This is a paraphrase of Sagan quoting Thomas Carlyle: "A sad spectacle. If they be inhabited, what a scope for misery and folly. If they be not inhabited, what a waste of space."
Sagan delivered this quote during the symposium on "Life Beyond Earth and the Mind of Man", held at Boston University (20 November 1972), published in Life Beyond Earth and the Mind of Man (1973) edited by Richard Berendzen; Life Beyond Earth and the Mind of Man (1975) National Archives video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQeOp7a8QMI
„For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.“
Source: The Demon-Haunted World : Science as a Candle in the Dark (1995), Ch. 1 : The Most Precious Thing, p. 12
Source: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
„We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.“
Source: Cosmos (1980), p. 193
Context: We embarked on our journey to the stars with a question first framed in the childhood of our species and in each generation asked anew with undiminished wonder: What are the stars? Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.
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This phrase was created by reporter Sharon Begley in the end of a 1977 Newsweek article with an extended profile of Carl Sagan. It was a final conclusion about Sagan's work and the topic of hypotethical extra-terrestrial life forms. "Quote Investigator" http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/03/18/incredible/
Source: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Source: Cosmos (1980), p. 218
7 min 25 sec
Back reference to UFO abduction claims
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1990 Update), Encyclopedia Galactica [Episode 12]
Context: For all I know we may be visited by a different extraterrestrial civilization every second Tuesday, but there's no support for this appealing idea. The extraordinary claims are not supported by extraordinary evidence.
Source: Contact (1985), Chapter 24 (p. 430)