Happy Saganseve, Everybody

November 9 would have been Carl Sagan's 75th birthday. To celebrate the man, his work and the awesome wonderment of science, Broward College in Davie, Florida is hosting the first ever Carl Sagan Day tomorrow (Saturday the 7th). If you're in that area, they've got a whole day's worth of activities going on---from planetarium shows and stargazing, to a "Cosmos" marathon, to appearances by Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait and James "The Amazing" Randi (who was a personal friend of Sagan's).

The majority of us not conveniently located in southern Florida, however, will have to find other ways to celebrate. Perhaps you've already got a Beethoven's Birthday-style public march planned, but, if not, you can at least enjoy some fine video tributes. BoingBoing already linked to the soothing memorial techno remix of Sagan's "Cosmos" PBS show, so I'm going to go in a different direction and offer you one of his last interviews, from May of 1996, on Charlie Rose. Among other things, Sagan talks about his (then) new book (and one of my favorites), "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark". Enjoy.

Thanks to the Bad Astronomy blog for the holiday tip-off!


  1. My 12 year old is a budding Carl Sagan fan who is having no end of fun learning that he can use logic and evidence in replying to 1) a friend who is an enthusiastic Bigfoot believer and 2) a classmate who insists that President Obama was born in Kenya. And this weekend, we’re off to see They Might Be Giants’ “Here Comes Science” concert. This parenthood thing has some really fun moments.

  2. I was in my last year of HS when THE DEMON HAUNTED WORLD came out, and more than my then favorites Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot, that book gave me a sense of urgency as to how important science and rational thought are in this world, and how damaging superstitions can be.

  3. My son’s name is Sagan…. My wife and I find out she was pregnant with our second son the same day Carl Sagan died.

  4. He’s the greatest
    He’s fantastic
    Wherever there is science he’ll be there
    He’s the ace
    He’s amazing
    He’s the strongest he’s the quickest he’s the best
    Carl Sagan
    Carl Sagan
    CARL SAGAN!!!!

  5. …I met Carl Sagan in 1982. While we disagreed on manned spaceflight vs. unmanned probes – most space enthusiasts were more agreeable that both had a place, while Carl was more in favor of scrapping all manned flights just on the grounds of saving money – I respected the hell out of the man because even though his opinion on the issue was dead wrong, he expressed it with intelligence and conviction without being either a sarcastic jerk(*) or a sanctimonious prig. That allowed me to gain enough strength through enjoyment of the occasion to get through the fact that Carl had apparently smoked a joint before the lecture, and I’d forgotten to take my allergy medication that morning. My sinuses were torn up for days, but it was one of the few times it was more than worth it.

    Carl, you’re missed. Even if you took the opposing view, we need your insight today more than ever.

    (*) Anyone who’s read that pile of horse manure pressed between sheets of dead trees that Gerald DeGroot upchucked and called “Dark Side of the Moon” will know of the tone I speak.

  6. i find myself watching cosmos on hulu every few days. while neil degrasse tyson and michio kaku are entertaining, brilliant, and engaging, there was that understated confidence and conviction in sagan’s voice that made you feel like we were perpetually on the cusp of rational thinking and logic taking the front seat.

    his soothing but passionate candor and familiarity with the physical world and universe is dearly missed. we should be so lucky to find another one like him.

  7. He looks so tired in the videos here, but his eyes and his voice were as lively as ever.
    I was unaware of his death for a couple of days. Ironically, the way I found out the day I went to pick up a book that he had written the forward to (“Solar System” by Peter Ryan & Ludek Pesek). The fellow at the book store mentions as I am checking out that Carl Sagan was going to be missed. Like being punched in the stomach.
    He was a great man. Here’s to hoping that his popularity surges anew, for if there was ever a time we needed clear, rational thinking, this is it.

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