Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, poet, and science communicator. He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of Eden, Broca’s Brain and Pale Blue Dot. He narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. He died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996.
About Carl Sagan in brief
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, poet, and science communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life. Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of Eden, Broca’s Brain and Pale Blue Dot, and narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. He died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996. His papers, containing 595,000 items, are archived at The Library of Congress. He married three times and had five children. He received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, and the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The dragons of Eden. He also wrote the science fiction novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Royal Society of New York and the Royal Astronomical Society of London. He is buried at Mount Sinai in New York City, with his wife and four children. His son, Carl Jr., is a well-known author and author-in- residence at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has written several books, including “The Power of Now” and “The Art of Living in the Age of Extraterrestrial Intelligence” He is also the creator of the TV series “Cosmos,” which has been seen by at least 500 million people across 60 different countries.
He had a sister, Carol, and a daughter, Rachel Molly Gruber, who was a housewife from New York. His father, Samuel Sagan, was an immigrant garment worker from Kamianets-Podilskyi, then in the Russian Empire, in today’s Ukraine. According to biographer Keay Davidson, Sagan’s close relationship with both of his parents, who were in many ways ‘opposites’, was a result of his close relationship. Sagan traced his later analytical urges to his mother, a woman who had been extremely poor as a child during World War I and the 1920s. As a young woman, she had held her own intellectual ambitions, but they were frustrated by social restrictions: her poverty, her status as a woman and a wife, and her Jewish ethnicity. He took his son’s inquitiveness as part of his growing up and saw his industry in stride. Sagan recalls that one of his most defining moments was when his parents took him to the New York World’s Fair in 1939, when he was four years old. He later became a turning point in his life, becoming a co-habiting member of The Fair’s Fair. He and his sister agreed that their father was not especially religious, but that their mother ‘definitely believed in God, and was active in the temple;… and served only kosher meat’