I miss Carl Sagan.
September 27, 2009 11:06 PM   Subscribe

I miss Carl Sagan. I miss Carl Sagan. I miss Carl Sagan.

Previously. Inspired by.
posted by jiawen (43 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
I miss Carl Sagan too.
posted by ehassler at 11:09 PM on September 27, 2009


Me to.
posted by carping demon at 11:15 PM on September 27, 2009


Carl Sagan can sing.
posted by ooga_booga at 11:26 PM on September 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


ME TOO
posted by palidor at 11:30 PM on September 27, 2009


And I wasn't even born yet when Cosmos first aired!
posted by palidor at 11:31 PM on September 27, 2009


I often think the same thing.
posted by brundlefly at 11:33 PM on September 27, 2009


I do miss him.
posted by obloquy at 11:48 PM on September 27, 2009


I was feeling this the other day, particularly after going to a talk about exoplanets (reading: previously, Wikipedia).

You see, if you find the chart in that wikipedia article, that by the end of 1996 (when Sagan died) fewer than 10 such planets had been discovered, most of which orbited stars nothing like our own, and most of which were Jupiter-mass or larger.

Now, there are well over 350. There are planets in multiple-planet systems, gas giants, small rocky planets, at least one whose absorption spectrum indicates water. They orbit pulsars, binary systems, giants, red dwarfs, brown dwarfs. There are some whose mass is only twice that of earth.

And Sagan missed almost all of it. (And we his explications thereof).
posted by nat at 11:50 PM on September 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


.
posted by shii at 12:24 AM on September 28, 2009


For Carl Sagan (mp3)
posted by phrontist at 12:49 AM on September 28, 2009


I miss Carl Sagan too.

On the other hand, I'm really glad David Attenborough and Patrick Moore are still with us.
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:49 AM on September 28, 2009


I miss Carl Sagan. I could do without sneaky PDFs in the middle of the links, though.
posted by rokusan at 1:23 AM on September 28, 2009


Neil deGrasse Tyson's eulogy.
"I never told him this, but at every stage of my scientific career that followed, I modeled my encounters with students after my first encounter with Carl."
The man will have a very lasting impact.
posted by edd at 1:32 AM on September 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was going to say, if you want to watch someone be enthusiastic about science, Nova ScienceNow (with Neil deGrasse Tyson) is a pretty good ~pop science~ show. I don't know if anyone will ever top Carl Sagan when it comes to inspiring people to ultimately go into careers in sciences, though. His love for what he presented is like the most infectious ever.
posted by palidor at 1:47 AM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I might well have ended up a science nerd without Carl Sagan, but Cosmos sure pushed me right along, and I can't think of any contemporary voice that I think evokes the same level of enthusiasm for the sprawl of wonders the universe presents.
posted by weston at 1:59 AM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cosmos was a huge part of my fascination with science as a child. I just about wore the book out when my parents got it.
posted by maxwelton at 2:05 AM on September 28, 2009


I miss Carl as well, although it was Julius Sumner Miller that first opened my eyes and mind to the world of science in the '60s and '70s. There's some Youtubery of the grizzly old Prof here.
I can remember sitting watching Cosmos for the first time, thinking how it justified my late nights spent on the beach, lying on my back staring in wonder at the universe above.
Thanks for the links Jiawen.
posted by Duke999R at 2:09 AM on September 28, 2009


Do you know how many people miss Carl Sagan?

That's right.

Billions and billions.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:33 AM on September 28, 2009 [22 favorites]


He's like the Mr. Rogers of SCIENCE.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:57 AM on September 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


His introduction to cosmology class was the only reason I wanted to go to Cornell.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:11 AM on September 28, 2009


More than billions and billions. The entire cosmos misses Carl Sagan!
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:47 AM on September 28, 2009


I made a point of acknowledging him in my own book on astronomy, because, well. He's one of the reasons I wrote a book on astronomy.
posted by jscalzi at 6:16 AM on September 28, 2009


We didn't get Cosmos on TV where I lived as a kid, but my copy of the book is almost falling apart from the hundreds of times I read it as an adolescent.
posted by CaseyB at 6:39 AM on September 28, 2009


Carl Sagan cared, punks!
posted by Capt Jingo at 6:51 AM on September 28, 2009


I'm in the middle of rereading Contact. I'm still amazed by how gracefully it explores the problems of being human in our universe, how wonderfully it describes how necessary intellectualism is, and the simple, unprejudiced way Sagan portrays the people of Earth (that is, as human beings). It should be required reading for every person on the planet, especially Americans.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:55 AM on September 28, 2009


Tyson is awesome, and I love the guy, but despite his numerous appearances on Colbert, I sort of feel that he's a toned down, white-bread version of Sagan. A brilliant mind and a passionate educator, but without Sagan's iconoclast streak.
posted by absalom at 7:26 AM on September 28, 2009


For one thing, I don't see Tyson writing something like this.
posted by aldurtregi at 7:56 AM on September 28, 2009


Over the rest of my life I will miss Carl Sagan billions of times.

And although I fully expect him to be the first to have his brain uploaded to his cloned 18-year-old body, I already steel myself for the loss of David Attenborough.
posted by cmoj at 8:12 AM on September 28, 2009


My five-year-old son, for some unexplained reason, started throwing around the word googol a lot recently. Like: "If I'm good, and I eat all my dinner, can I have a cookie? How about a googol of cookies!" or "For my birthday I want a googol and a googol toys!"

Now, it's obvious that he didn't really know what it actually meant. To him it just translated to "really big number". He just started Kindergarden, I'm guessing that's where he picked it up. So I start telling him about the googolplex and then tease him with how I'll let him eat a googol treats once he finishes a googleplex of brocolli...and then it was quickly off to YouTube to find that particular clip from Cosmos.

He laughed and laughed as Sagan kept backing up with that loooooong strip of paper filled with zero after zero. And he got it. It all clicked.

Cosmos was one of those shows that my Dad just LOVED to watch with his sons. And I can hardly wait to carry on the tradition.
posted by ssmith at 8:41 AM on September 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I didn't realize I missed him until I heard the recent autotune remix. Is it wrong to tear up at a collection of quotes by a TV personality/scientist?
posted by FormlessOne at 9:36 AM on September 28, 2009


Is it wrong to tear up at a collection of quotes by a TV personality/scientist?

No. It is not.
posted by andromache at 9:45 AM on September 28, 2009


Is it wrong to tear up at a collection of quotes by a TV personality/scientist?

Not in the slightest.
posted by MidAtlantic at 10:07 AM on September 28, 2009


Oh my God, Becky
Look at his cerebellum, it is so big!
He must be one of those astronomers.
But you know, who understands those astronomers?
Girls only talk to them because they can get us through their maths exams,
I mean, look at his dome. I can't believe it's so round,
It's like, out there, I mean, gross!
He's just so white.
I miss Carl Sagan and I cannot lie
You other brothers can't deny
That when an astronomer walks in and starts discussing space,
Or some other such exotic place,
I get sprung, wanna pull out my scope,
And learn like a medieval pope,
With Carl my Galileo,
Even though I am not gay, bro.
Oh Carl, I just wanna hang wit'cha,
On my bedroom wall hangs your picture,
My teacher tried to warn me,
Astronomers don't make girls horny,
I give the girls some dope,
Then ask if they want to peep my scope,
Now focus, focus -- this ain't no hocus pocus,
That's the Milky Way and Orion,
You know girl that I ain't lyin'
I learned this shit from Sagan,
And you know that guy ain't fakin',
So fellas, (Yeah?), fellas (yeah!)
Check out those planetary nebulas,
Do you miss Carl Sagan's butt?
(Hell no!)
I'd like to kiss it, I really miss it,
I'd live to hit Carl Sagan's butt,
Sagan got back..
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:51 AM on September 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Sagan also recently helped kick Nyarlathotep's ass, in Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener's excellent Atomic Robo and the Shadow From Beyond Time. You can't say that for too many other dead astronomers.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:24 PM on September 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've got Dragons of Eden in my purse right now. I carry it around with me because that's what kind of a geek I am. I, too, miss Carl Sagan.
posted by frobozz at 12:31 PM on September 28, 2009


I was thinking about him recently and realized I didn't have copies of any of the books any more. I was in Barnes and Noble and went to the science section to browse them. Guess what? Only 1 copy of one Carl Sagan book, and it wasn't Cosmos. It made me sad. I'm definitely going to pick up the DVD for my daughter for Christmas. She'll love it even though she's only 4. Geeks breed geeks!

I watched Cosmos with my dad when I was in 6th grade. My parents had gotten divorced and I was sent to live with him for a year in a tiny apartment while my brother stayed home. My dad was an engineer and not the most emotionally open guy, but we watched that whole series together and I remember loving it more than about anything I'd ever seen.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:17 PM on September 28, 2009


The Demon-Haunted World is a gift to the world, pure and simple.
posted by waraw at 4:42 PM on September 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


/start Neil deGrasse Tyson derail

Neil deGrasse Tyson's eulogy. "I never told him this, but at every stage of my scientific career that followed, I modeled my encounters with students after my first encounter with Carl." The man will have a very lasting impact. posted by edd at 4:32 AM on September 28

deGrasse-Tyson and i have a friend in common and i met him in one of those random moments that only happen when celebrities or "really important people" are being "just another guy".

well, "just another guys" dont take your breath away. outside of the fact that he's one FINIIIIIIIIINE looking brother, he is one of the most intensely nice people i've met.

and let me tell you, my breath is seldom taken away :)

am a big, big fan of Neil

/end Neil deGrasse Tyson derail
posted by liza at 5:13 PM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Carl Sagan was such a superb prose stylist that his writing makes his scientific work seem almost secondary in comparison.
posted by decagon at 7:14 PM on September 28, 2009


@Peter Mcdermott - did you just make that up or did someone actually record that! I need to hear it if it exists!
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 10:19 PM on September 28, 2009


Okay, it's completely spooky how much Carl Sagan sounds like Agent Smith.

(Also... lots of Cosmos clips on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=Zuke696&view=videos&query=cosmos )
posted by weston at 11:51 AM on September 29, 2009


I went to the same public high school that Carl Sagan attended, but much later. The science wing was named after him. I didn't know much about his work at the time; if i did, I would've been much more impressed.

Oddly enough, Milton Friedman also lived in the city I'm from when he was growing up. I've considered writing a short play where the two discuss important issues in an attempt to reconcile their perspectives.
posted by defenestration at 3:37 PM on September 29, 2009


Dr Tyson is the bomb. He's smart, a good writer, able to get these huge ideas to an understandable and relatable level, and, indeed, his enthusiasm is contagious. He loves what he does. A lot. We should all be so lucky.
posted by grubi at 1:08 PM on September 30, 2009


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