“We are made of starstuff” – you must have heard this before. It is one of the most famous quotes by Carl Sagan – the face of the original “Cosmos”. It won’t be wrong if I say that “No one has ever explained space, in all its perplexing glory, as well as Sagan, did”. Sagan was an eminent scientist, a famous celebrity, and an irreplaceable popularizer of science.
Born on November 9, 1934, in Brooklyn, US, Carl Sagan is quite a popular and influential figure in various scientific, political and religious circles. Sagan’s scientific curiosity led him to earn four degrees in physics, astronomy, and astrophysics from the University of Chicago. Sagan assembled the very first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record. These were the universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them.
Being an advisor to NASA, he not only managed and designed some of the significant space missions, but also played a major role in laying the groundwork for two new scientific disciplines: planetary science and exobiology( the study of potential life on other planets).
Read all the articles of our Basics of Astrophysics series here
Sagan’s television series “Cosmos” became one of the most-watched shows in public television history. Carl Sagan was among the first to determine that life could have existed on Mars. He also argued that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect, which has now become a widely accepted hypothesis.
But, apart from all these achievements, Carl Sagan is often described as a scientist who made the universe clearer to the ordinary person. His words had the power to move masses. So today, here we present to you his top 20 quotes, that represent his brilliance and his take at the universe.
Top 20 Quotes by Carl Sagan:
Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.
We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.
One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.
I don’t want to believe. I want to know.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.
It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.
The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.
We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.
Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.
The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.
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 are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.
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