Carl Sagan and his Cosmos
A new season of the famous ‘Cosmos’ television series conceived by pioneering science communicator Carl Sagan has just finished broadcasting in India, giving rise to nostalgia among those who grew up with the show. ‘Cosmos: Possible Worlds’, succeeds earlier Cosmos seasons ‘A Personal Voyage’, aired in 1980 (in the USA) and 1986 (in India); and ‘A Spacetime Odyssey’ broadcast in 2014.
Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife and producer of Cosmos says the series comes from a place of hope – not wishful thinking – “but optimism that science and technology will be used with wisdom and foresight”. “When we turn away from science, we are turning away from reality,” Druyan told in an e-mail interview about the new series.
Civilisations should pay heed to scientists’ dire warnings and their stunning revelations about the universe, so that science becomes the preferred tool for finding solutions to mankind’s problems, she hopes.
Prasadranjan Ray, a former bureaucrat in the West Bengal state government who attended Sagan’s lectures as a Hubert Humphrey fellow student in Cornell University in New York in the USA, recalls how he met Carl Sagan, a man with bubbling energy and an impressive capability to communicate, in 1981. “The talk was easy to follow. Many of the listeners were Astronomy undergraduates and I learnt that he usually took the introductory courses ASTRO 102 and 104 but these students had joined when he was on long leave. To their seniors, he taught ASTRO 201 and he also started a course on skepticism (ASTRO 490) because he believed that a scientist had to be a skeptic.”…Read more