Honoring Carl Sagan

In 1997, a pre-teen girl with a thick New York accent went to the movie theatre. Her parents knew she liked space and astronomy and aliens, so they took her to see a movie that had all those things, “Contact.” In the movie, another little girl by the name of Ellie decided at a young age that she wanted to study the stars, that it would be her life’s work. And the little New Yorker chick thought to herself, “Yeah, I could be an astronomer, too. I love the planets and stars and telescopes.” Luckily, she had an encouraging mom and teachers that helped her realize that goal.

I’m still on this path to becoming an astronomer when I grow up*, and Carl Sagan’s “Contact” was a big influence. Later, “Demon-Haunted World“** would lead me on a path to skepticism and “Cosmos” would show me just how beautiful the explanations of science can be.

So, I am beyond thrilled to be involved in the 2nd annual Carl Sagan Day in Florida this November 6th! It will be a day of teacher workshops, kids activities, and guest speakers on astronomy, space, education, skepticism, and the life of Carl Sagan who has been so influential to so many. If you can get to Ft. Lauderdale that weekend please do come to this free event. There will also be a fundraiser 5K on Sunday to raise money for science supplies for their local schools.

In addition to the chick with the headset, we’ll have Jeff Wagg, who has a cool new project called Indie Skeptics, and who I consider my BFF since he gave me a package full of pirate eyepatches at Dragon*Con, Jeff Bennett, astronomer, author, and teacher whose textbooks and kids books we love here at UVa, Alexander Hamilton… I mean Hal Bidlack, and Dawn (Elliott) Martin who works at NASA Kennedy Space Center, one of the coolest places in the world. AND, of course, The Amazing James Randi will be speaking! I STILL have yet to meet him, and I predict that I will make a fangirl fool of myself at some point. *SQUEE*

This event promises to be a lot of fun, but even if you can’t make it, be sure to share Carl Sagan’s work with someone and celebrate his legacy. Here’s a bit of Sagan for your day!

* Time TBD
** So, I find it odd that I can’t find two of the most influential books in my library, so if I lent either one to you, please let me know!

5 comments for “Honoring Carl Sagan

  1. September 23, 2010 at 15:49

    I love Carl Sagan, probably my astronomical hero! Good post!

  2. Callie
    September 24, 2010 at 08:48

    I’m jealous! I doubt I’d be able to take the time off to go, but Carl Sagan’s Cosmos was a big influence in getting me interested in astronomy and science in general.

  3. Charlie
    September 24, 2010 at 13:03

    “Contact” is one of my all-time favorite books. Carl Sagan has had a profound impact on me and how I view the world. I really wish I could be there.

  4. November 18, 2010 at 16:39

    Great post and it’s wonderful to hear the story of someone being inspired because of one person’s dedication to outreach and making science “public” and fascinating.
    Carl Sagan say sounds like a terrific event – I wish I could have attended. Look forward to hearing more about it.

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