20 years since Sagan
Actually, it’s been 10 years; but in the meantime it seems like our whole country has gone off the rails and begun trying to un-learn science as fast as it can. In honor of Carl Sagan, I hereby plagarize Brewster Rockit’s wonderful Sunday comic on subatomic distances:
This is what I like about science; it lets us “see behind the curtain”. Without help we can’t understand phenomena that are too small to see, too far away, too fast, too slow in relation to a human lifespan, occur at energies we can’t survive, or in parts of the electromagnetic spectrum we can’t perceive, etc. But patient application of scientific tools and methods reveal them for us anyway. Back in ancient times people had to make up explanations for invisible things.
To me, at least, the made-up answers seem like; “What you said, times a zillion!” I find the real answers more amazing, more awe-inspiring by far.
Anyway, Carl Sagan was a gifted presenter of science. He helped millions of people “get it”, though if he were alive today the new atheists might criticize him for respecting religious believers. He was a gentle voice of reason with the soul of a poet.
Sagan died of myelodysplasia 10 years ago today, at age 62. I miss him, and honor him.