(It was Carl Sagan's birthday last week!)

What is your favorite Sagan quote?

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"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Certainly, whenever I am writing a manuscript dreaming that it could make it to Science or Nature, I remember this particular quote!

Pale Blue Dot is my all-time favorite! For me, it’s a true expression of the spirituality of science. Here, I want to cite a book excerpt in which Carl talked about his inquisitiveness about stars and universe when he was an elementary school kid. I just love the way he expressed it.

     “I went to the library. I asked the librarian for a book on the stars. She came back and gave me a book. I opened it. It was filled with pictures of people like Jean Harlow and Clark Gable.

     I was humiliated. I gave it back to her and said, "This wasn't the kind of stars I had in mind." She thought this was hilarious, which humiliated me further. She then went and got the right kind of book. I took it—a simple kid's book. I sat down on a little chair—a pint-sized chair—and turned the pages until I came to the answer.

     And the answer was stunning. It was that the Sun was a star but really close. The stars were suns, but so far away they were just little points of light.... And while I didn't know the [inverse] square law of light propagation or anything like that, still, it was clear to me that you would have to move that Sun enormously far away, further away than Brooklyn [for the stars to appears as dots of light]....

      The scale of the universe suddenly opened up to me. [It was] kind of a religious experience. [There] was magnificence to it, grandeur, and a scale which has never left me. Never ever left me.. ”

                                                          - from “Carl Sagan A Life” by Keay Davidson

Wow Anushree.. How wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing this!

Thanks Betul. That wonderment has never left me too :)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe"

My day neither begins nor ends without this...it's just beautiful..




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