Carl Sagan remembered

This is the 10th anniversary of Carl Sagan’s death (Dec. 20, 1996) and if you’re in the blogosphere you’ll likely see many of the science-oriented sites post entries about this sad milestone.

There is not much that I can say that has not already been posted before about Dr. Sagan’s role in growing our knowledge about the planets and moons of our local solar system as well as in popularizing the Cosmos in general. Click here for his Wikipedia entry.

My own experience with Dr. Sagan’s work began way back in 1989 when I was on vacation in Morocco for a couple of weeks. That was one of the first vacations I’d ever been on where I was truly a “stranger in a strange land”. There were a couple of French TV stations available from France in the North, but most channels were in Arabic (Berber, I believe). There happened to be a copy of Carl Sagan’s book “Cosmos” available, and over the course of those two weeks I managed to read it cover to cover.

While I enjoyed that experience immensely, it is not for that work that I really respect Dr. Sagan. I disagreed with some of his stances on political issues (nuclear holocaust and environmental concerns chief among those),  but I greatly respected the skepticism and mental rigour that he expressed so clearly in my favorite of his works, “The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the dark”. I have this book on audio tape and feel it is a must read / listen for anybody interested in understanding what skepticism is really about.

I truly regret that Dr. Sagan can no longer produce such wonderful and thought provoking works anymore and that he is not able to see the incredible discoveries we’ve made both within our own solar system and throughout the Cosmos over the past few years.

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