This project-in-Sagan has provided an incredible opportunity to dip my hand into this particular pool and by turning over the different stones found therein I continue to be gleefully pleased by the variety of peoples that Doctor Carl Sagan has touched.
Students, teachers, pilots, musicians, artists, fathers, mothers, and the list goes on and fractal-ly combines and grows.
Just now I came across a profile Dr. William Reach that is accessible through NASA's page for the Spitzer Space Telescope.
In it Dr. Reach writes:
I've always wanted to be an astronomer. Thinking about what "always" means, I do have a clear memory, which may be partially mixed up with Carl Sagan's memories described in his fabulous Cosmos book and TV show, of looking at the stars and wanting to know what they were when I was little. The only real "evidence" of this early desire is a signal event when my grandfather took me to the planetarium when I was 5 years old and living in New York. They showed stars and galaxies with different shapes and colors, but also some sensationalistic UFO stuff. The best part was when they did an experiment of hurling a shiny hubcap into the sky. The photograph of that hubcap looked just like some of the UFO pictures, and a sceptic was born. Ever since then, I preferred the natural over the supernatural.
Similar to all heroes, Dr. Sagan's influence isn't always direct. Sure Sagan's passion and clarity moved people to become scientists and think skeptically about the world around them, but the influence of people like Sagan can also be more graceful, re-enforcing the desire from within that strives to understand the world around us.
When Celebrating Sagan it is also important to remember the science teachers, grandfathers, and free thinkers that we all know, who helped us to grow as people, and set the stage for our desire to learn evermore.
Click on the image to learn more about Dr. Reach.