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My Hero

Carl is my hero. He just is. Especially the bits of him that must have made it into my bloodstream by now; c’mon man, we’re all star dust, don’t you remember that?

Carl gave me the permission to believe that there was something else out there bigger than this earth and its humans. At a time when I was desperate for anything other than those two things,

Carl offered the universe and its infinite potential. I didn’t need to understand it all, or even pursue it in any way. Just knowing it was there, beautiful, powerful and limitless was perspective enough.

I was ten years old.

Cynthia, Ipswich, MA

A Young Scientist.

This video from 1963 shows a rehearsed Sagan discussing the atmosphere of Venus.

Two more from flickr

Hello from Japan

I was watching Cosmos after a hard day's work at J-List last night as I saw the post on Mr. Sagan's "meinichi," the Japanese word for the anniversary of a person's dying -- and I'd just done a post on what "meinichi" means a few days ago. I credit Mr. Sagan for installing a sense of wonder in me that I'll have all my life.

Peter Payne

Carl Sagan

I remember so clearly watching all of the Cosmo programs hosted by Carl Sagan. I looked forward to them with such enthusiasm that my family began teasing me about it, calling him my "boyfriend". I didn't care - he was magnetic, charming, persuasive, literate, imaginative, charismatic, even poetic. And he was a scientist? As an artist type myself I never cared much for the sciences but his approach was so appealing - not dry and boring, that I found myself transfixed by his lectures, because that's really what they were.

It was a great loss when Dr. Sagan passed away. His voice of reason and clarity, and his thoughtfulness are very much needed today.

Frances Barrineau
Ashburn, Virginia

Memories From a Former Student

I was a rising college senior in the summer of 1965, and was considering Harvard as a possible Graduate school in Astronomy. I had contacted the Astronomy Dept to set up an interview, as I was planning to come East, from California, late that summer. I was assigned a then very young (and still very unknown) Assistant Professor, Carl Sagan, as my interviewer. I was very impressed by our meeting, and was ultimately accepted as a Grad Student, entering in the Fall of 1966. I knew I was very much interested in Astronomy, as a whole, but did not have any idea as to what specific field I would concentrate on.

I took a course in Planetary Astronomy from Carl, as a 2nd Year student, and that lead to publishing 2 papers with Carl as co-author, on the microwave spectrum of Venus. In order to get that research approved, Carl had to personally ‘go to bat’ for me, with a major governing committee within the Astronomy dept. That really impressed me.

Little did I know at the time, but Carl was in the process of being forced out of the Astronomy Department at Harvard – a story that many at Harvard are still not willing to acknowledge. That fall, Carl was denied Tenure at Harvard, and left for Cornell where he was immediately appointed a Full Professor, and named Director of the Center for Planetary Studies.

I almost followed him to Cornell, but ultimately chose to stay at Harvard, and received my PhD in 1972.

Carl was a superb teacher and mentor, and I will always remember the year and half that I studied and learned under his tutelage.

Arthur Wood
Former Sagan Student
Harvard University 1966-1972
PhD, Astronomy, 1972

Thank You, Dr. Sagan

I remember reading in a 1980 issue of Science magazine about a new science series to premiere that fall. From the first opening minutes of the show, my life had changed. I especially remember the segment on the Library of Alexandria and how its destruction held back science for centuries. This spurred my commitment to fighting ignorance and superstition. We certainly could use Dr. Sagan now.

Bill Brantley, Winchester, Kentucky

My Homage...

While I don't want to plug my own music, my wife and I have a band called SAGAN and we released a cd/dvd movie called "Unseen Forces" - which is VERY informed by COSMOS. Here's the trailer:

I still miss him.

Thats all.


Carl Sagan

How much do I admire him. Why did he have to go? He gave us so much and could have kept giving… his teachings… his personality… his science… his super clear ways of expressing his knowledge. I salute him on this 10th Anniversary of his departure and wish all of you that have put together all this for him the best. Thank you all.
Carl Sagan… that you may be eternally resting in peace… in the Cosmos...
Herbert Erdmenger, Guatemala

Carl Sagan on "The Tonight Show"

I was the talent coordinator who first put Carl Sagan on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" back in the 1970's. A then relatively unknown scientist to the popular media, he had just written a book and I was approached by his publicist who half-heartedly suggested we consider him as a guest.

Little did the PR person know that Johnny's favorite hobby, besides tennis at the time, was astronomy. And my instincts told me that Carson would enjoy a visit on the air with Sagan. Well the rest is history. Dr. Sagan made numerous visits back to the show and would often go out to dinner with our star afterwards.

Once, while going over the notes with Carl on the phone the day before an appearance on the show, he asked me who else had been booked. "Oh we've got a terrific show," I replied. "Tony Bennett will be on, along with..." He interrupted me before I could say another word. "I should know who Tony Bennett is, shouldn't I?" he queried. That's when I realized that brilliant scientists don't necessarily know what's going on in show business!

We laughed about this often on succeeding visits to the show and he never failed to ask who the other guests were going to be. Interestingly he seemed to recognize all their names. Obviously he had begun to do his "entertainment other-world" research.

"The Tonight Show" was an entertainment vehicle but, from time to time, we invited guests on who had something very important to share with the viewer. I'm proud that I was responsible for adding Dr. Carl Sagan to that list.

- Howard Papush

Sagan on Rose.

Carl Sagan was a repeat guest on the Charlie Rose show. Together these two great communicators casually discussed Sagan's life, work, and the status of science in America.

Fortunately, two interviews from the last two years of Sagan's life are available to watch on Video.Google.

Or, if you prefer, you can check out the audio from these interviews on the Sounds of Sagan, on the sidebar.

Carl Sagan, 1934 - 1996

You knew he felt it too: the hairs-stand-up-on-your-neck wonder of the night sky, of thinking of the (yes,) billions of stars, of the worlds to be discovered. Of knowing that we were part of something bigger. Of being made of starstuff.

When I was at university, we had a Space party: everyone dressed up as aliens, Princess Leia, wookies, you name it. My brother beat us all, wearing a blazer and a smart fawn turtleneck. He came as Carl Sagan.

Michael Honey, Australia

My Thoughts.

Quite honestly Carl Sagan was the finest teacher of the 20th century. His beautifully made (still remarkable today) Cosmos series gave my math challenged mind the opportunity to soar with the good Dr. Sagan. The world is a much, much better place for his having been among us (for all too briefly) and far less rich place for his passing. I can think of no one whom I never actually met that I miss as much as Carl. He was truly a beautiful person.

James W. Shaw, Falmouth,MA

Celebrating Carl Sagan

Though I was only introduced to Carl Sagan by my high school friends about eight years ago (unfortunately after his passing), I quickly became, and to this day still am, an avid fan.

My favorite DVD set that I own is his PBS documentary Cosmos. While I already loved astronomy, after I discovered Sagan, my interest increased even more.

In a nutshell, I think it is Sagan's eloquent, yet simple explanations of astronomy that make him so unique. He is excellent at helping to comprehend a science that is, often times, incomprehensible.

RIP Carl Sagan. You taught us so much.

- Mike Postiglione, Kansas

Another Sagan Patent.

In addition to the post by Bryan H. on a patent issued to Carl Sagan, A. Bar-nun and S. Bauer on March 18, 1972, I found this one:

Production of Amino Acids from Gaseous Mixtures Using Ultraviolet Light.

Christopher Niebylski, The World Bank.

The Bean Mines.

Subspace McFillicutty over at The Bean Mines posted an excellent Sagan tribute.

Here is an excerpt:
Generally speaking, I'm pretty opposed to marking a death anniversary. This is something that came about as I worked at a tattoo shop and people ritualistically attempted to immortalize a loved one by having either their death date or an image of death (i.e., an angel) marked into their skin for all their conscious eternity. I spent years around this well-meaning but misguided tradition, so I feel qualified to criticize it...

Right now I am looking down at my arm, which is completely sleeved in a random science-fiction/space theme, and which I started about ten years ago. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I felt Carl Sagan was somewhat responsible for my having these tattoos. Are they a memorial tattoo? No, and yes a little.

When my dad told me that Carl Sagan had finally passed away after two years of fighting a painful disease, I quietly lost it. Like people worldwide I felt he'd spoken to me -- he had been a voice, both literal and metaphorical, of the cosmos, a champion for the utterly ignored and completely spectacular universe around us. I have clear memories of being hunkered up to the television absorbing the concepts of the Doppler effect without even trying to. I opened up my tiny, spongy and nearly blank brain to him to fill, and with grace and wit he complied.
Please read the rest at The Bean Mines.

10 Years and Missed.

I miss Carl Sagan. The nation and the world misses Carl Sagan.

I never met him, but I viewed "Contact" again last night. Even though I knew the movie's outcome, it was still a big WOW.

My only connection with Carl was that he and my father died of the same disease: MDS (Myelodysplastic syndrome), for which there is still no cure. My father didn't do the bone marrow transplant, as Carl did.

I certainly hope that the first permanent human settlement on the moon or Mars is named after Carl. He deserves no less.

David Batterson
Whittier, CA

T'is the Season!

The Planetary Society was not only started by Dr. Sagan, but it is also a great resource of information on him and the World's largest Space-interest group.

Also, as it is the holiday season, why not make a donation to SETI in commemoration of Dr. Sagan in a loved one's name? They are always desperate for funding, and it could make a nice gift to the science enthusiast in your circle.

Are you a Space enthusiast with lots of idle disk space you don't use, and are hard up for cash to make a donation? Well here's an alternative to a donation that's just as good if not better: download the BOINC client program and give a portion of your disk to research sciences. There's a few to choose from and SETI is one of them.

Happy Holidays!

More from flickr

If you search flickr for just sagan and begin scrolling through the matching tags, the first thing you'll learn is that there are a lot of cats named Sagan, or else one particularly ubiquitous tabby. Lost within a thousand photos of pets and children are a few that I'm partial to, like the graffiti posted here already, and the Dr. Arroway costume in the previous post. There's also this one, a still from the video for White & Nerdy, I think. I want that t-shirt, Weird Al. I also enjoy the one below because DC is my hometown, and it's always nice to see a Sagan quote on the street:

More flickr later.

Arroway Interpreted.

Mr. Atrocity at flickr asked us to post this interpretation of Ellie Arroway, the protagonist from Dr. Sagan's only novel, Contact.

Getting Biographical, Part 2.

Sagan on Science Friday.

Carl Sagan was also an occasional guest on Talk of the Nation's Science Friday. It was on this NPR program that I first came across the good Doctor, and it certainly had an obvious and lasting impact on me as an eighth grader.

I have added an excerpt from the May 5 (3), 1996 interview with Sagan to the Sounds of Sagan. For the whole hour of programing check out NPR's site.

Remembering Dr. Sagan

As a ten-year-old boy flat on my stomach, head propped up in my hands, watching “Cosmos” on television, Carl Sagan showed me “the joy of figuring things out.” I learned that there is just as much adventure in the real-life dramas of sending robotic probes to new worlds (well, new to us, anyway) and that “Eureka!” moment when a mystery becomes solved, and, paradoxically, the simultaneous revealing of myriad additional mysteries, as there were in the science fiction and fantasy works that I loved so much.

I’ve never lost my love for that moment of gaining a little more understanding and becoming a little more at home in the Cosmos, and more than anything else I wanted to share it with as many people as possible. I became a high school teacher of physics upon graduating from college, and I haven’t looked back.

More than anything else, I am grateful that I was able to share with Drs. Sagan and Druyan what they were able to give to me. A book signing for Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors at Oxford Books in Atlanta, GA gave me the opportunity to personally thank Carl Sagan for giving me such inspiration and for flagging this path for me to follow.

My dream is that maybe one of my students who may never even have heard of Carl Sagan might catch the fever and pass it along themselves.

Michael Poley, Physics and AP Physics Teacher,Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School

My Carl Sagan Story

Hey all,

Just wanted to give y'all my own Sagan Story:

One of my earlier memories involves my Dad dressing me in a kiddie blazer and taking me to a lecture by some scientist whose name I had never heard before. You can imagine the reaction this provoked in an child whose regular leisure consisted of lego toys and backyard wargames. I protested, my father insisted. I resigned myself to an afternoon staring at the ceiling of some auditorium.

But the crowd's reaction as Dr. Sagan walked on stage - a reception more on par with a rock star than a crusty old NASA scientist - suggested I might be in for something more interesting after all. The scientist launched straight away into a discourse on extraterrestrial life. The talk ranged from UFOs and their portrayal in Hollywood to the size of the universe and Drake equations with the lifetime of civilizations... I sat statue-still for two hours as he showed us the span of the universe on a projection screen.

During the question session a woman from the audience challenged him: "How can you look at a rainbow and not believe there's a God?" to which he replied, "Rainbows occur because of a refraction of light." He then continued with a more nuanced response, but the message was clear: our reverence should be foremost for intellectual integrity and rational experiment. Powerful ideas to hit the impressionable mind of an elementary school student.

These days I'm a PhD student studying autonomous robotic astrobiology - a.k.a. the search for life on other planets. I suspect that I owe my career choice to a conspiracy between my father and Carl Sagan.

-David Thompson

"Impossible for God"

Richard took the initiative to bring to life an idea that Sagan wrote about in Contact. He quotes an excerpt in which the protagonist, Arroway, has found a message of sorts in binary.

To quote Richard:
The implication is that somehow the universe was designed with the transcendental value of pi so arranged that its digits were graphical as well as numerical. I was reading several comments about this in other blogs and one stated that actually constructing a universe and controlling the value of pi is "impossible for God." Without debating that question, I submit that if one searches long and hard enough, one will, indeed, find the "message" in the digits of pi. Consider: As far as anyone knows, pi is random and infinite. Should that not mean that any pattern, including the one above, will eventually appear?

To read the entire entry, visit RikLBlog.

Getting Biographical, Part 1.

Confusion on the Radio

Shortly before he died Carl was on a Washington DC radio talk show. A woman named Jennifer, I think, called to ask about women's challenges in the world of science.

Carl explained that programs that are outside of just hardcore science that might be socially positive are often forgone because the science teams usually "blow their wad" on doing science first.

Jennifer then became irate, stating that this nature of the science world was bad and male-centric, as evidenced by Carl's use of "blow their wad".

The host disconnected, and asked Carl for his response. He simply said, "Hmmmm.. I wonder what Jennifer thought I meant by 'wad'."

They went to commercial, and I almost drove off the road for laughter.

At least that's how I remember it. What grace.

Stephen, Woodstown, NJ

Celebrating Indeed.

Ever since I picked up the Cosmos book from my parents' bookshelf at a young age, Astronomy has been a passion of mine (I almost studied Astrophysics after reading Sagan led me to Hawking, before opting for CompSci). The book absolutely fascinated me. As I got older and continued to read the book, my world view was shaped to look at everything from the top down, starting with the big picture -- which has made me very successful in my career as an IT professional.

I plan to pass the book, DVD collection, and whatever else I can on to my children.

Thanks, Carl. You will always been remembered as my first non-fictional childhood hero.

Jeff, Jacksonville, FL

Thoughts on Sagan

A few years ago I was given Carl's "A Demon Haunted World" for Christmas and it's now one of my favorite books. As I was reading it I realized that there is still an enormous amount of superstition in the world and some of it may seem benign but it certainly doesn't advance our understanding of the universe.

The last few years have driven home how religious extremism is dangerous and backwards. There's no creativity or imagination in it. It's a symptom of the fear and distrust that millions of people live with every day. It takes courage to speak out against religion and it's excesses but Carl showed me that it has to be done. Religion is a sacred cow that needs to be challenged by all rational people.

Science isn't perfect but it still offers the best way of explaining the world and our place in it. If there is an afterlife it's in our hearts and minds, and that's where Carl resides.

Timothy Hatt, Vancouver, B.C.

Halfway There

Zeno wrote to Celebrating Sagan in order to share a personal experience he had with Carl.

To quote:
The conference was great. It had been sponsored by CSICOP (the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) and its title theme was “Controversies in Science and Fringe Science.” Sagan spoke in his usual engaging and enlightening manner, suggesting that skepticism had an important role to play in evaluating the words and policies of our political leaders, as well as judging controversies in science. (Oh, Carl, if you could see how things are today!) James Randi gave a presentation at lunch. Penn & Teller had provided the after-dinner entertainment on the second (and final) evening. A good time was had by all.

I was staying at the Pasadena Hilton, which was within easy walking distance of the convention center where the CSICOP meeting had been held. Ending the conference with the perfect tired but happy cliché, I caught the elevator to head up to my room. The elevator doors opened, and there was Carl Sagan.

He was in his trademark turtleneck and blazer, looking calm and relaxed. Next to him stood a young boy who looked like Carl's clone, complete with matching turtleneck. I assumed it was his son.

I gave a small, nonchalant smile (at least, I think that's what I did) and stood to one side in the elevator car as it rose in its shaft. Although I was pleased that I was not acting goofy and gushy (at least, I didn't think I was acting goofy and gushy), it wasn't like I was going to get many more opportunities to spend time in the company of Carl Sagan. I made up my mind to seize the day. Or the moment, at least.

“Dr. Sagan, it was a pleasure to attend the conference and hear your speech. I came down from Sacramento for it. I told my boss you were going to be the keynote speaker, and you might be amused to learn that she said, ‘Who is Carl Sagan?’”

I don't know if Carl was actually amused, but the boy appeared to be on the point of convulsing with laughter. Carl's expression, in fact, was nearly as blank as Laura's had been. He considered my remark for a long moment, and then gave a small smile. In his roundest oratorical tones, Sagan said, “Please give my best to your boss.”

I have no idea what I said in return. I hope it was something cool like “I will indeed” or “It will be my pleasure,” but I don't remember. The elevator stopped at my floor and I got off. I presume I gave a polite and dignified nod as I stepped off. I'm fairly certain I would have remembered if my exit line had been, “Oh, golly gee, Dr. Sagan, you bet. I will for sure. Gosh. Thanks! Good night.” And somewhere halfway through all that the elevator doors would have closed between us and I'd be babbling at a blank wall. Pretty sure that didn't happen.
To read the whole account please visit Halfway There.

Sagan in Graffitti, from flickr

Thanks, jschumacher.

Thanks, tangentilism.

On Faith.

When discussing Sagan it is easy to fall into the groove carved by his atheism. Many people point to him as the like-able friendly face of the belief that god does not exist.

Unlike modern atheists -- Dawkins, Harris, and Dennet (for a brief example please look to Wired magazine) -- Sagan's skepticism about the existence of god did not leave him with ill feelings for religion. He believed that religion could be graceful and was once useful, but he was frustrated when religion put superstition before rational thought.

In his only fictional work, Contact, the action in the novel hangs on two beliefs. The first is that it is possible to teach science, skepticism, and rational thought through fiction. Second is the idea that, as human organizations both religion and science are flawed. Sagan saw that there is an unexplored space between faith and rational thought. As I read it Contact is an exercise in coming to terms with that gap.

The best example is the novel / movie in its entirety. However, since I don't have the ability to post the entire film, this excerpt gets to the point -- here we see rational thought break down and faith step in.

To hear Dr. Sagan speak briefly on religion, listen to the Peter Gzowski interview with Sagan, found in the Sounds of Sagan on the sidebar.

As a side I would also like to point out that the people who have contributed to Celebrating Sagan hold different takes on god and religion. I believe that it is a testament to Sagan's vision that people who have oppositional beliefs can come together underneath the umbrage of his world view.

El espíritu Sagan

A 10 años de la partida de Carl Sagan

El día de mañana se cumplen 10 años desde que el astrónomo y divulgador científico Carl Sagan, mejor conocido por su famosísima serie de TV de los ochenta: “COSMOS”, moría al lado de su esposa y sus hijos. Sagan representó en mi vida un hito formativo, el cual me transmitió el amor por la ciencia y la astronomía, junto a la valoración de un conjunto de temas-problemas los cuales desarrolló en su vida académica (y podríamos decir que en la totalidad de su vida) que me han atraído desde ese entonces. Era un niño cuando vi por primera vez COSMOS, y desde ese momento veía dicha serie cada vez que la repetían. En mi adolescencia me regalaron el libro y lo leí con gran pasión, impregnándome de lo que podríamos llamar “el espíritu Sagan”. La admiración por dicho espíritu fue compartido con un amigo de infancia y adolescencia (Miguel Edgardo), reforzándolo y haciéndolo vida. Miguel seguramente es más fiel a dicho espíritu, yo en cambio lo he combinado con la espiritualidad cristiana. Sagan era un agnóstico, pero al final de su vida señaló que las grandes religiones (salvo relativamente el Islam) habían evolucionado en el respeto por la ciencia y podrían ayudar en la lucha por la preservación del medio ambiente (idea que el autor sostiene en su libro: Billions and Billions (1997) y para desenmascarar a la pseudociencia (The Demond-haunted World, 1995). Incluso llegó a hablar de la integración de la ciencia y religión en algunos aspectos, apoyando la siguiente frase de Juan Pablo II: “La ciencia puede purificar la religión del error y la superstición; la religión puede purificar la ciencia de la idolatría y los falsos absolutos.”

El “espíritu Sagan” sostiene que la persona posee un anhelo natural por la verdad y el conocimiento; e incluso siguiendo a Bertrand Russell (La conquista de la felicidad, 1930) la búsqueda del conocimiento representa una de las principales fuentes de alegría y gozo; y así lo sostiene Sagan al decir que “la ciencia no sólo es compatible con la espiritualidad sino que es una fuente de espiritualidad profunda” usando como ejemplo la sensación de regocijo y humildad que nos transmite cuando la ciencia reconoce nuestro lugar en la inmensidad del COSMOS. Sagan dedicó su vida a popularizar la ciencia, a transmitir este “espíritu”; debido a su firme creencia en el papel que esta ha tenido en los últimos 300 años los cuales han representado un progreso nunca visto, éxito que se debe fundamentalmente a su mecanismo de análisis e investigación el cual se basa la ciencia. La ciencia para Sagan“es una manera de pensar imaginativa y disciplinada al mismo tiempo (...) que nos invita a aceptar los hechos, aunque no se adapten a nuestras ideas preconcebidas. Nos aconseja tener hipótesis alternativas en la cabeza y ver cuál se adapta mejor a los hechos. Nos insta a un delicado equilibrio entre una apertura sin barreras a las nuevas ideas, por muy heréticas que sean, y el escrutinio escéptico más riguroso: nuevas ideas y sabiduría tradicional. Esta manera de pensar también es una herramienta esencial para una democracia en una era de cambio” (The Demond-haunted World, 1995, págs. 45-46).

La viuda de Sagan: Ann Druyan, sostiene que Carl “sigue vivo” en las miles de personas que se han visto inspiradas por el espíritu Sagan, y esto es cierto. Su ejemplo como hombre de ciencia, enamorado de la búsqueda del conocimiento y preocupado por el destino de la humanidad y del planeta Tierra, perduran en cada uno de nosotros los que fuimos “tocados” por COSMOS; por ese mecanismo maravilloso que integra armónicamente las diferencias con el orden. ¡Gracias Sagan!.

Carl Lives On

Purely by chance, in the summer of 2006, I was Googling for star charts and NASA material when the words "Carl Sagan" and "Cosmos" appeared in the searches. This man, I knew was famous in the fields of astronomy, space and science, and somewhere in the back of my mind I also knew "Cosmos" (which I had never seen) had been a ground-breaking science series. After avidly reading reviews, all of which were five-star, I of course, ended up purchasing the boxed set! I excitedly (with my young son) awaited its arrival, but was devasted to hear from Ann at the beginning of Episode 1 that Carl had infact died in 1996. I simply had never heard this terrible news when it broke (I don't know how well it had been covered in the UK - I'm sure it didn't appear in the newspapers for which I was working), and for some reason watching Cosmos became even more imperative.

Both myself, and my son shared the whole series together several times. It is true to say that never a week goes by when at least one episode isn't repeated. Despite the hundreds of books I read for my degree, other courses I have attended, and the countless documentaries I have watched, it is a tribute to Carl that absolutely nothing has so profoundly changed my perspectives on life , than Cosmos. More importantly, the series continues to inspire a new generation, witnessed by my son. I obtained the book, and am currently awaiting "Pale Blue Dot" (it has to be imported from the US).

Carl Sagan was quite simply to science, what Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was to music. Nothing less than a genius. Cosmos, for example is exquisite, captivating and inspirational, due in no small part to Carl's enthusiasm and passion for science. He masterfully took complex scientific concepts, and explained them in understandable terms to ordinary people, in which I count myself. If there is one person in this world I would have wished to meet, and talk to, it would have been Carl Sagan.

However, happily Carl is still very much alive today in the millions of hearts and more importantly, minds he touched and changed by his amazing work. The best tribute to Carl we could possibly make is to ensure that his work continues - and that our civilisation does not re-enter the Dark Ages, clouded with superstition, and religious/racial hatred, bigotry and intolerance. All too relevant following the events of 9/11. We must all ensure we are not victims of mass deception, in any subjects, but especially in political, economic and religious matters, we must make it our business to apply that scientific methodology, rigorously, and that verifiable evidence is available, in all claims. We must not take extraordinary claims at face value in our search for "the truth" about the Cosmos, and we must ensure that these ideas are propagated with our peers. Show them Cosmos, get them to buy the book and Carl's other work.

For it is through keeping Carl alive in our brains, and ensuring his ideas become the prevailing paradigm of all of those in authority, that we may avert making that ultimate mistake of destroying our own civilisation. In so doing we will through science, I am certain, eventually discover what we all long for - "the big truth" about the Cosmos. Star stuff and the Cosmos fully conscious and aware of how it created itself.

Andy Fleming, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, United Kingdom