Penguins on the dimly lit Antarctic ice; His parents helped nurture his growing interest in science by buying him chemistry sets and reading materials. His interest in space, however, was his primary focus, especially after reading science fiction stories by writers such as H. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs , which stirred his imagination about life on other planets such as Mars.
According to biographer Ray Spangenburg, these early years as Sagan tried to understand the mysteries of the planets became a "driving force in his life, a continual spark to his intellect, and a quest that would never be forgotten". In he discovered Astounding Science Fiction magazine, which introduced him to more hard science fiction speculations than those in Burroughs's novels. Sagan had lived in Bensonhurst, where he went to David A.
Boody Junior High School. He had his bar mitzvah in Bensonhurst when he turned He graduated in Sagan was a straight-A student but was bored due to unchallenging classes and uninspiring teachers. Sagan was made president of the school's chemistry club, and at home he set up his own laboratory. He taught himself about molecules by making cardboard cutouts to help him visualize how molecules were formed: "I found that about as interesting as doing [chemical] experiments", he said. Before the end of high school, he entered an essay contest in which he posed the question of whether human contact with advanced life forms from another planet might be as disastrous for people on Earth as it was for Native Americans when they first had contact with Europeans.
Sagan attended the University of Chicago , which was one of the few colleges he applied to that would consider admitting a year-old, despite his excellent high-school grades. Its Chancellor, Robert Hutchins, structured the school as an "ideal meritocracy", with no age requirement. During his time as an honors program undergraduate , Sagan worked in the laboratory of the geneticist H. Muller and wrote a thesis on the origins of life with physical chemist Harold Urey. Sagan joined the Ryerson Astronomical Society,  received a B.
He went on to earn a M. He used the summer months of his graduate studies to work with his dissertation director , planetary scientist Gerard Kuiper ,  as well as physicist George Gamow and chemist Melvin Calvin. The title of Sagan's dissertation reflects his shared interests with Kuiper, who throughout the s had been president of the International Astronomical Union 's commission on "Physical Studies of Planets and Satellites".
Sagan had a Top Secret clearance at the U. The leak was not publicly revealed until , when it was published in the journal "Nature".
A follow-up letter to the journal by project leader Leonard Reiffel confirmed Sagan's security leak. After the publication of Sagan's Science article, in Harvard University astronomers Fred Whipple and Donald Menzel offered Sagan the opportunity to give a colloquium at Harvard and subsequently offered him a lecturer position at the institution. Sagan instead asked to be made an assistant professor , and eventually Whipple and Menzel were able to convince Harvard to offer Sagan the assistant professor position he requested.
In , Sagan was denied tenure at Harvard. He later indicated that the decision was very much unexpected. Carl Sagan , from Demon-Haunted World . Following the denial of tenure from Harvard, Sagan accepted Gold's offer and remained a faculty member at Cornell for nearly 30 years until his death in Unlike Harvard, the smaller and more laid-back astronomy department at Cornell welcomed Sagan's growing celebrity status.
In , he became the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences, a position he held for the remainder of his life. Sagan was associated with the U. From the s onward, he worked as an advisor to NASA , where one of his duties included briefing the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon. Sagan contributed to many of the robotic spacecraft missions that explored the Solar System , arranging experiments on many of the expeditions.
He continued to refine his designs; the most elaborate message he helped to develop and assemble was the Voyager Golden Record , which was sent out with the Voyager space probes in Sagan often challenged the decisions to fund the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station at the expense of further robotic missions. Former student David Morrison describes Sagan as "an 'idea person' and a master of intuitive physical arguments and ' back of the envelope ' calculations",  and Gerard Kuiper said that "Some persons work best in specializing on a major program in the laboratory; others are best in liaison between sciences.
Sagan belongs in the latter group. Sagan's contributions were central to the discovery of the high surface temperatures of the planet Venus. His own view was that Venus was dry and very hot as opposed to the balmy paradise others had imagined. As a visiting scientist to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory , he contributed to the first Mariner missions to Venus, working on the design and management of the project.
Mariner 2 confirmed his conclusions on the surface conditions of Venus in Sagan was among [ clarification needed ] the first to hypothesize that Saturn 's moon Titan might possess oceans of liquid compounds on its surface and that Jupiter 's moon Europa might possess subsurface oceans of water.
This would make Europa potentially habitable. The mystery of Titan's reddish haze was also solved with Sagan's help. The reddish haze was revealed to be due to complex organic molecules constantly raining down onto Titan's surface. Sagan further contributed insights regarding the atmospheres of Venus and Jupiter , as well as seasonal changes on Mars. He also perceived global warming as a growing, man-made danger and likened it to the natural development of Venus into a hot, life-hostile planet through a kind of runaway greenhouse effect.
He studied the observed color variations on Mars' surface and concluded that they were not seasonal or vegetational changes as most believed, [ clarification needed ] but shifts in surface dust caused by windstorms. Sagan is also known for his research on the possibilities of extraterrestrial life , including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation.
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He is also the recipient of the Public Welfare Medal , the highest award of the National Academy of Sciences for "distinguished contributions in the application of science to the public welfare". As of [update] , Sagan is the most cited SETI scientist and one of the most cited planetary scientists. In Sagan co-wrote and narrated the award-winning part PBS television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage , which became the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. The show has been seen by at least million people across 60 different countries.
Because of his earlier popularity as a science writer from his best-selling books, including The Dragons of Eden , which won him a Pulitzer Prize in , he was asked to write and narrate the show. It was targeted to a general audience of viewers, who Sagan felt had lost interest in science, partly due to a stifled educational system.
Each of the 13 episodes was created to focus on a particular subject or person, thereby demonstrating the synergy of the universe. The show won an Emmy ,  along with a Peabody Award , and transformed Sagan from an obscure astronomer into a pop-culture icon.
Sagan's ability to convey his ideas allowed many people to understand the cosmos better—simultaneously emphasizing the value and worthiness of the human race, and the relative insignificance of the Earth in comparison to the Universe. Sagan was a proponent of the search for extraterrestrial life. He urged the scientific community to listen with radio telescopes for signals from potential intelligent extraterrestrial life-forms. Sagan was so persuasive that by he was able to get a petition advocating SETI published in the journal Science , signed by 70 scientists, including seven Nobel Prize winners.
This signaled a tremendous increase in the respectability of a then-controversial field. Sagan also helped Frank Drake write the Arecibo message , a radio message beamed into space from the Arecibo radio telescope on November 16, , aimed at informing potential extraterrestrials about Earth. Sagan was chief technology officer of the professional planetary research journal Icarus for 12 years. At the height of the Cold War , Sagan became involved in nuclear disarmament efforts by promoting hypotheses on the effects of nuclear war , when Paul Crutzen 's "Twilight at Noon" concept suggested that a substantial nuclear exchange could trigger a nuclear twilight and upset the delicate balance of life on Earth by cooling the surface.
In he was one of five authors—the "S"—in the follow-up "TTAPS" model as the research article came to be known , which contained the first use of the term " nuclear winter ", which his colleague Richard P. Turco had coined. Sagan received a great deal of skepticism and disdain for the use of media to disseminate a very uncertain hypothesis. A personal correspondence with nuclear physicist Edward Teller around began amicably, with Teller expressing support for continued research to ascertain the credibility of the winter hypothesis.
However, Sagan and Teller's correspondence would ultimately result in Teller writing: "A propagandist is one who uses incomplete information to produce maximum persuasion.
I can compliment you on being, indeed, an excellent propagandist, remembering that a propagandist is the better the less he appears to be one". The adult Sagan remained a fan of science fiction, although disliking stories that were not realistic such as ignoring the inverse-square law or, he said, did not include "thoughtful pursuit of alternative futures".
Sagan also wrote the best-selling science fiction novel Contact in , based on a film treatment he wrote with his wife, Ann Druyan, in , but he did not live to see the book's motion-picture adaptation , which starred Jodie Foster and won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Sagan was also known for his popularization of science, his efforts to increase scientific understanding among the general public, and his positions in favor of scientific skepticism and against pseudoscience , such as his debunking of the Betty and Barney Hill abduction.
To mark the tenth anniversary of Sagan's death, David Morrison , a former student of Sagan, recalled "Sagan's immense contributions to planetary research, the public understanding of science, and the skeptical movement" in Skeptical Inquirer. Following Saddam Hussein 's threats to light Kuwait 's oil wells on fire in response to any physical challenge to Iraqi control of the oil assets, Sagan together with his "TTAPS" colleagues and Paul Crutzen , warned in January in the Baltimore Sun and Wilmington Morning Star newspapers that if the fires were left to burn over a period of several months, enough smoke from the or so Kuwaiti oil fires "might get so high as to disrupt agriculture in much of South Asia In the televised debate, Sagan argued that the effects of the smoke would be similar to the effects of a nuclear winter , with Singer arguing to the contrary.
After the debate, the fires burnt for many months before extinguishing efforts were complete. The results of the smoke did not produce continental-sized cooling. Sagan remained hopeful that the natural NEO impact threat and the intrinsically double-edged essence of the methods to prevent these threats would serve as a "new and potent motivation to maturing international relations". Sagan was a critic of Plato , having said of the ancient Greek philosopher: "Science and mathematics were to be removed from the hands of the merchants and the artisans. This tendency found its most effective advocate in a follower of Pythagoras named Plato" and .
He Plato believed that ideas were far more real than the natural world. He advised the astronomers not to waste their time observing the stars and planets.
It was better, he believed, just to think about them. Plato expressed hostility to observation and experiment. He taught contempt for the real world and disdain for the practical application of scientific knowledge. Plato's followers succeeded in extinguishing the light of science and experiment that had been kindled by Democritus and the other Ionians. Speaking about his activities in popularizing science, Sagan said that there were at least two reasons for scientists to share the purposes of science and its contemporary state. Simple self-interest was one: much of the funding for science came from the public, and the public therefore had the right to know how the money was being spent.
If scientists increased public admiration for science, there was a good chance of having more public supporters. While Sagan was widely adored by the general public, his reputation in the scientific community was more polarized. One of Sagan's harshest critics, Harold Urey , felt that Sagan was getting too much publicity for a scientist and was treating some scientific theories too casually.
While Urey was an "old-time empiricist" who avoided theorizing about the unknown, Sagan was by contrast willing to speculate openly about such matters. Sagan's Harvard friend Lester Grinspoon also stated: "I know Harvard well enough to know there are people there who certainly do not like people who are outspoken. Wherever you turned, there was one astronomer being quoted on everything, one astronomer whose face you were seeing on TV, and one astronomer whose books had the preferred display slot at the local bookstore.
Some, like Urey, later came to realize that Sagan's popular brand of scientific advocacy was beneficial to the science as a whole. I congratulate you You are a man of many talents. Sagan was accused of borrowing some ideas of others for his own benefit and countered these claims by explaining that the misappropriation was an unfortunate side effect of his role as a science communicator and explainer, and that he attempted to give proper credit whenever possible.
Sagan believed that the Drake equation , on substitution of reasonable estimates, suggested that a large number of extraterrestrial civilizations would form, but that the lack of evidence of such civilizations highlighted by the Fermi paradox suggests technological civilizations tend to self-destruct. This stimulated his interest in identifying and publicizing ways that humanity could destroy itself, with the hope of avoiding such a cataclysm and eventually becoming a spacefaring species. Sagan's deep concern regarding the potential destruction of human civilization in a nuclear holocaust was conveyed in a memorable cinematic sequence in the final episode of Cosmos , called "Who Speaks for Earth?
In March , Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative —a multibillion-dollar project to develop a comprehensive defense against attack by nuclear missiles , which was quickly dubbed the "Star Wars" program. Sagan spoke out against the project, arguing that it was technically impossible to develop a system with the level of perfection required, and far more expensive to build such a system than it would be for an enemy to defeat it through decoys and other means—and that its construction would seriously destabilize the "nuclear balance" between the United States and the Soviet Union , making further progress toward nuclear disarmament impossible.
In response, US anti-nuclear and peace activists staged a series of protest actions at the Nevada Test Site , beginning on Easter Sunday in and continuing through Hundreds of people in the " Nevada Desert Experience " group were arrested, including Sagan, who was arrested on two separate occasions as he climbed over a chain-link fence at the test site during the underground Operation Charioteer and United States's Musketeer nuclear test series of detonations. Sagan was also a vocal advocate of the controversial notion of testosterone poisoning , arguing in that human males could become gripped by an "unusually severe [case of] testosterone poisoning" and this could compel them to become genocidal.
Isaac Asimov , in letter to Sagan,  . Sagan was married three times. In , he married biologist Lynn Margulis. The couple had two children, Jeremy and Dorion Sagan. During these marriages, Carl Sagan focused heavily on his career, a factor which may have contributed to Sagan's first divorce. Carl Sagan and Druyan remained married until his death in He lived in an Egyptian revival house in Ithaca perched on the edge of a cliff that had formerly been the headquarters of a Cornell secret society.
Isaac Asimov described Sagan as one of only two people he ever met whose intellect surpassed his own. The other, he claimed, was the computer scientist and artificial intelligence expert Marvin Minsky. Sagan wrote frequently about religion and the relationship between religion and science, expressing his skepticism about the conventional conceptualization of God as a sapient being. For example:. Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow.
Others—for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein —considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws. The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous.
But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists.
To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed. Sagan also commented on Christianity and the Jefferson Bible , stating "My long-time view about Christianity is that it represents an amalgam of two seemingly immiscible parts, the religion of Jesus and the religion of Paul.
Thomas Jefferson attempted to excise the Pauline parts of the New Testament. There wasn't much left when he was done, but it was an inspiring document. What we breathe is air, which is certainly matter, however thin. Despite usage to the contrary, there is no necessary implication in the word 'spiritual' that we are talking of anything other than matter including the matter of which the brain is made , or anything outside the realm of science.
On occasion, I will feel free to use the word. Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.
An environmental appeal, "Preserving and Cherishing the Earth", signed by Sagan with other noted scientists in January , stated that "The historical record makes clear that religious teaching, example, and leadership are powerfully able to influence personal conduct and commitment Thus, there is a vital role for religion and science. In reply to a question in about his religious beliefs, Sagan answered, "I'm agnostic. When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me—it still sometimes happens—and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife.
They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don't ever expect to be reunited with Carl. Sagan is also widely regarded as a freethinker or skeptic ; one of his most famous quotations, in Cosmos , was, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"  called the " Sagan standard " by some .
This was based on a nearly identical statement by fellow founder of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal , Marcello Truzzi , "An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof. Late in his life, Sagan's books elaborated on his skeptical, naturalistic view of the world. In The Demon-Haunted World , he presented tools for testing arguments and detecting fallacious or fraudulent ones, essentially advocating wide use of critical thinking and the scientific method.
The compilation Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium , published in after Sagan's death, contains essays written by Sagan, such as his views on abortion, as well as an account by his widow, Ann Druyan, of his death in relation to his having been a skeptic, agnostic , and freethinker. Sagan warned against humans' tendency towards anthropocentrism. Mars then belongs to the Martians, even if the Martians are only microbes. Sagan was a user and advocate of marijuana.
Under the pseudonym "Mr. X", he contributed an essay about smoking cannabis to the book Marihuana Reconsidered. The publishing of the biography, Carl Sagan: A Life , in brought media attention to this aspect of Sagan's life. The court granted Apple's motion to dismiss Sagan's claims and opined in dicta that a reader aware of the context would understand Apple was "clearly attempting to retaliate in a humorous and satirical way", and that "It strains reason to conclude that Defendant was attempting to criticize Plaintiff's reputation or competency as an astronomer.
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One does not seriously attack the expertise of a scientist using the undefined phrase 'butt-head'. It was never Apple's intention to cause Dr. Sagan or his family any embarrassment or concern. In , the year that inaugurated the " flying saucer " craze , the young Sagan suspected the "discs" might be alien spaceships. Secretary of State Dean Acheson to ask how the United States would respond if flying saucers turned out to be extraterrestrial. Stuart Appelle notes that Sagan "wrote frequently on what he perceived as the logical and empirical fallacies regarding UFOs and the abduction experience.
Sagan rejected an extraterrestrial explanation for the phenomenon but felt there were both empirical and pedagogical benefits for examining UFO reports and that the subject was, therefore, a legitimate topic of study. Air Force 's UFO investigation project. The committee concluded Blue Book had been lacking as a scientific study, and recommended a university-based project to give the UFO phenomenon closer scientific scrutiny.
The result was the Condon Committee —68 , led by physicist Edward Condon , and in their final report they formally concluded that UFOs, regardless of what any of them actually were, did not behave in a manner consistent with a threat to national security. A wide range of educated opinions on the subject were offered by participants, including not only proponents such as James McDonald and J. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
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Postscript—The Election of ". Legislative Graft and the Albany Scandal". Graft as an Expert Trade in Pittsburg". The "Jack-Pot" in Illinois Legislation". The Man the Interests Wanted". Colorado—New Tricks in an Old Game". Senator Gore's Strange Bribe Story". Read Book Online website. Archived from the original on October 19, Retrieved April 22, Archived from the original on June 12, Retrieved January 6, The New York Times.
Ciment, James ed. University of Missouri Press. Retrieved March 21, Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved August 23, New York Times. New Haven: Yale University Press. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved August 19, Feminist Media Studies : Retrieved February 14, Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Gale Virtual Reference Library.
Retrieved February 6, The American Beauty Industry Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 16, October 14, February 2, Retrieved May 23, Retrieved September 24, Retrieved November 16, April 10, Archived from the original on March 28, Cosmopolitan UK. Archived from the original on September 10, Cosmo Fragrance. Archived from the original on August 27, It was obvious that print was in decline, but the main problem seemed to be the sheer amount of competitors in the market, and increasing difficulty in grabbing the attention of the target audience. Farrah explained how, essentially, a rival is anything that millennial eyes might otherwise be drawn to.
As a result, it was clear that the brand needed a new strategy — one that focused on innovation around the core product of the magazine. In other words, it decided that the very things that it was most famous for — like horoscopes, centrefolds and sexually-charged headlines — were the very things that were holding it back. So, it was out with the old, and back to re-discovering what current consumers actually care about. With the realisation that Cosmopolitan needed to shake off its old stereotypical hallmarks, it also reassessed how it was distributing content.