Carl Sagan was one of the most prolific science communicators of the 20th century. Through his books, speaking engagements, and his acclaimed miniseries Cosmos, Sagan was able to teach the public at large about fundamental scientific ideas. He had a uniquely poetic ability to make people dream of exploring the stars, understanding the immensity of the human experience, and solving some of the greatest mysteries of the universe.
Though he passed away in 1996, Carl Sagan has continued to inspire the masses. In fact, the further we get away from his death, the more clearly we can see the importance and timelessness of his messages.
In 2013, Sagan's written works, including lab notebooks, drafts of his books, and even childhood report cards, were purchased by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and promptly donated to the Library of Congress so they would be freely available to the public. MacFarlane also teamed up with Sagan's widow, Ann Druyan, to reboot Cosmos in 2014, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.
His legacy is so incredible that November 9 — his birthday — has been declared Carl Sagan Day to remember the wisdom and insight he gave to us.
Celebrate Carl Sagan's incredible life by checking out these seven of his most incredible quotes:
1. "For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love."
2. "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."
3. "What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic."
4. "For me, it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
5. "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."
6. "The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous."
7. "Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor, and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." This one is so good, reading it isn't enough. Hear this one from the man himself:
Which quote of Carl Sagan's is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
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