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Carl Sagan

  • American scientist
  • Born November 9, 1934
  • Died December 20, 1996

Carl Edward Sagan (; November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences. He is best known for his work as a science popularizer and communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them.


It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.




Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.




A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.




But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.




We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology.




Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.




All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.




The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.




If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.




The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.




Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.




Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.




Personally, I would be delighted if there were a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out.




Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.

Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.




For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.




When you make the finding yourself - even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light - you'll never forget it.




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.




If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?




The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.




We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.




I can find in my undergraduate classes, bright students who do not know that the stars rise and set at night, or even that the Sun is a star.




I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.




Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.




For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.




We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.




Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.




What's the harm of a little mystification? It sure beats boring statistical analyses.




The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.




Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity as by ignorance, particularly our ignorance about ourselves.



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