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This visually stunning book with over 250 full-color illustrations, many of them never before published, is based on Carl Sagan’s thirteen-part television series. Told with Sagan’s remarkable ability to make scientific ideas both comprehensible and exciting, Cosmos is about science in its broadest human context, how science and civilization grew up together.
The book also explores spacecraft missions of discovery of the nearby planets, the research in the Library of ancient Alexandria, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, the origin of life, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies and the origins of matter, suns and worlds.
Sagan retraces the fifteen billion years of cos-mic evolution that have transformed matter into life and consciousness, enabling the Cosmos to wonder about itself. He considers the latest findings on life elsewhere and how we might communicate with the beings of other worlds.
Cosmos is the story of our long journey of discovery and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science, including Democritus, Hypatia, Kepler, Newton, Huy-gens, Champollion, Lowell and Humason. Sagan looks at our planet from an extra-terrestrial vantage point and sees a blue jewel-like world, inhabited by a lifeform that is just beginning to discover its own unity and to ven-ture into the vast ocean of space.
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Cosmos was the first science TV blockbuster, and Carl Sagan was its (human) star. By the time of Sagan's death in 1996, the series had been seen by half a billion people; Sagan was perhaps the best-known scientist on the planet. Explaining how the series came about, Sagan recalled:
I was positive from my own experience that an enormous global interest exists in the exploration of the planets and in many kindred scientific topics--the origin of life, the Earth, and the Cosmos, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, our connection with the universe. And I was certain that this interest could be excited through that most powerful communications medium, television.
Sagan's own interest and enthusiasm for the universe were so vivid and infectious, his screen presence so engaging, that viewers and readers couldn't help but be caught up in his vision. From stars in their "billions and billions" to the amino acids in the primordial ocean, Sagan communicated a feeling for science as a process of discovery. Inevitably, some of the science in Cosmos has been outdated in the years since 1980--but Sagan's sense of wonder is ageless. --Mary Ellen CurtinAbout the Author:
Carl Sagan was the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University; Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology; and the cofounder and President of the Planetary Society, the largest space-interest group in the world. For the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, he was an adviser on the Mariner, Voyager, and Viking unmanned space missions, and he briefed astronauts for journeys to the moon. His Peabody Award-winning public television series, Cosmos, has been seen by more than 500 million people in over sixty countries, and the accompanying book spent seventy weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. The author of thirty books, Sagan was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence in 1978, and his novel Contact, is now a major motion picture.
In their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan of their highest honor, the National Science Foundation declared that his research transformed planetary science ... his gifts to mankind were infinite.
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