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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 9 November 1934Brooklyn, New York, USA
Date of Death 20 December 1996Seattle, Washington, USA  (bone marrow cancer)
Birth NameCarl Edward Sagan
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Astronomer, educator and author, Sagan was perhaps the world's greatest popularizer of science, reaching millions of people through newspapers, magazines and television broadcasts. He is well-known for his work on the PBS series Cosmos, the Emmy- and Peabody-award-winning show that became the most watched series in public-television history. It was seen by more than 500 million people in 60 countries. The accompanying book, Cosmos (1980), was on The New York Times bestseller list for 70 weeks and was the best-selling science book ever published in English. Carl Edward Sagan was born Nov. 9, 1934, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Having taught at Cornell since 1968, Sagan received a bachelor's degree in 1955 and a master's degree in 1956, both in physics, and a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics in 1960, all from the University of Chicago. He taught at Harvard University in the early 1960s before coming to Cornell, where he became a full professor in 1971. Sagan played a leading role in NASA's Mariner, Viking, Voyager and Galileo expeditions to other planets. He received NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and twice for Distinguished Public Service and the NASA Apollo Achievement Award. His research focused on topics such as the greenhouse effect on Venus; windblown dust as an explanation for the seasonal changes on Mars; organic aerosols on Titan, Saturn's moon; the long-term environmental consequences of nuclear war; and the origin of life on Earth. A pioneer in the field of exobiology, he continued to teach graduate and undergraduate students in courses in astronomy and space sciences and in critical thinking at Cornell. The breadth of his interests were made evident in October 1994, at a Cornell-sponsored symposium in honor of Sagan's 60th birthday. The two-day event featured speakers in areas of planetary exploration, life in the cosmos, science education, public policy and government regulation of science and the environment -- all fields in which Sagan had worked or had a strong interest. Sagan was the recipient of numerous awards in addition to his NASA recognition. He received 22 honorary degrees from American colleges and universities for his contributions to science, literature, education and the preservation of the environment and many awards for his work on the long-term consequences of nuclear war and reversing the nuclear arms race. Among his other awards were: the John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award of the American Astronautical Society; the Explorers Club 75th Anniversary Award; the Konstantin Tsiolkovsky Medal of the Soviet Cosmonauts Federation and the Masursky Award of the American Astronomical Society. He also was the recipient of the Public Welfare Medal, the highest award of the National Academy of Sciences, "for distinguished contributions in the application of science to the public welfare." Sagan was elected chairman of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, president of the Planetology Section of the American Geophysical Union and chairman of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For 12 years he was editor of Icarus, the leading professional journal devoted to planetary research. He is co-founder of The Planetary Society, a 100,000-member organization and the largest space-interest group in the world. The society supports major research programs in the radio search for extraterrestrial intelligence, the investigation of near-Earth asteroids and, with the French and Russian space agencies, the development and testing of balloon and mobile robotic exploration of Mars. Sagan also was Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and was contributing editor of Parade magazine, where he published many articles about science and about the disease that he battled for the last two years of his life.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Marcos Eduardo Acosta Aldrete

Spouse (3)

Ann Druyan (1 June 1981 - 20 December 1996) (his death) (2 children)
Linda Salzmann (6 April 1968 - 1981) (divorced) (1 child)
Lynn Margulis (16 June 1957 - 1963) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

He mostly wore turtlenecks with suit coats.

Trivia (10)

Born at 5:05pm-EST
Suffered from rare blood disorder that led to cancer and ultimately his death.
Named 1981 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association "in recognition of his work as an educator, skeptic, activist, and populizer of science".
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 537-540. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Despite being known for, and frequently quoted with, his famous phrase "billions and billions...", Carl Sagan never actually said it during the entire single-season run of Cosmos (1980). The actual phrase is "billions UPON billions," and the complete quote which includes this often-misquoted phrase is "A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars - billions upon billions of stars."
Five children: Dorion and Jeremy from his first marriage, Nick Sagan from his second marriage and a daughter Sasha and son Sam from his third marriage.
He was elected into the 2008 New Jersey Hall of Fame for his services to Enterprise.
He was the visual inspiration for Earl Meagan, a character from the V comics, based on the popular V (1984) TV series.
Father of Sasha Sagan.

Personal Quotes (10)

Billions upon billions...
We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
[About religion] "I don't want to believe. I want to know."
The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.
"I never said it. Honest." - The opening line in his last book called "Billions and Billions." He was right -- the phrase was coined by Johnny Carson imitating him.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time someting like that happened in politics or religion." "The method of science is tried and true. It is not perfect, it's just the best we have. And to abandon it, with its skeptical protocols, is the pathway to a dark age.
To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. [Cosmos, PBS TV, 23 November 1980]
When Kepler found his long-cherished belief did not agree with the most precise observation, he accepted the uncomfortable fact. He preferred the hard truth to his dearest illusions. That is the heart of science.

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