November 6, 2010

Happy Carl Sagan Day!

We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.

It's the second annual Carl Sagan Day.  A day dedicated to Sagan and the beauty of science, skepticism, and inquiry.  It was created by a few Florida based groups last year in honor of his November 9th birthday and rapidly caught on.  He would be 76 this year.  Most of us know him as an author and the creator of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, an original television series that aired on PBS and covered many topics such as our place in the wide universe and the origin of life.  Carl Sagan contributed an immeasurable amount of knowledge to the world, and it is an emptier place without him.  One of my favorite things about him was the way he translated the most complex of subjects into everyday language that all of us (that aren't astrophysicists) can understand.

How can you celebrate?  Well, the Center for Inquiry site is full of information and suggestions.  My suggestions are to at least watch the below video and listen to the radio links.  And these:
- If you own COSMOS, watch it.  If you don't own it, look up clips on YouTube.
- Read one of Carl Sagan's many books
- Visit a local observatory.
- Get away from the city and gaze at the stars.  They will especially humble you if you are in the desert or mountains with a breathtaking view.
- Watch the 1997 film, Contact; it was adapted from the Carl Sagan book of the same name.
- Buy a themed pendant for the day from SurlyRamics.  Designs include "I am 100% star stuff," "COSMOS," and more.
- Update your Facebook, Twitter, whatever with your favorite Carl Sagan quote.

Here are two favorite NPR stories about Carl Sagan that I recommend listening to:
- a 1994 interview with Sagan about manned space exploration
- an unbelievably touching piece about a mix tape of the human experience that brought Ann Druyen, Carl Sagan's wife, together


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