Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Best of Cosmos – Remembering Carl Sagan

Today on Cosmic Visions we commemorate the memory of Carl Sagan who died an untimely death thirteen years ago today. Carl Sagan, was an astronomer, astrochemist, author, and highly successful popularizer of astronomy, astrophysics and other natural sciences. He pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). For me personally he will always be remembered and revered as a great teacher who communicated the joys and transcendence of scientific discovery. Carl Sagan’s enduring legacy will always be linked to his ability to convey the wonders of science to the general public and his skill in inspiring the next generation of scientists. Carl Sagan’s name will also be forever linked to the greatest science television series in history – Cosmos.

Sagan made the front cover of Time Magazine (Monday October 20th, 1980) which dubbed him the “Showman of Science.” The cover story, entitled ‘The Cosmic Explainer’ by Frederic Golden contains a very good biographical sketch of Carl and appeared when his landmark documentary Cosmos graced our television screens some thirty years ago.

So in order to commemorate the thirteenth anniversary of his death we are presenting a retrospective of the very best moments and highlights of the highly acclaimed documentary series Cosmos and the A&E Channel’s profile of Carl Sagan which aired shortly after his unfortunate death. It is a very good portrayal of how a kid from Brooklyn made good and became something of a media superstar —“indeed, a supernova of sorts”. So for your perusal “Heeere's Carl, bringing you nothing less than the Cosmos.”

Best of Sagan's Cosmos

Carl Sagan A Biography

Thursday, December 3, 2009

One of Carl Sagan's Most Pertinent Messages for Humanity

"Those worlds in space are as countless as all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the Earth. Each of those worlds is as real as ours. In every one of them, there's a sucsession of incidence, events, occurences which influence its future. Countless worlds, numberless moments, an immensity of space and time. And our small planet, at this moment, here we face a critical branch-point in history. What we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants. It is well within our power to destroy our civilization, and perhaps our species as well. If we capitulate to superstition, or greed, or stupidty we can plunge our world into a darkness deeper than time between the collapse of classical civilization and the Italian Renaissaince. But, we are also capable of using our compassion and our intelligence, our technology and our wealth, to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet. To enhance enormously our understanding of the Universe, and to carry us to the stars." Carl Sagan explains the immensity of space and time. This clip is from Carl Sagan's Cosmos episode 8, "Journeys in Space and Time."
Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Journey to 10,000 B.C

Today on Discovery Enterprise we journey to the year 10,000 BC and experience the suspense and heart-pounding action of a woolly mammoth hunt. A single kill could feed the tribe for weeks. As the winters grow curiously colder and longer, this vital source of nourishment becomes even more critical. Experience the land where giant ground sloths, great saber-toothed cats, and camels roamed. Witness their extinctions and live through the cataclysms that we are only now beginning to understand.

Journey to 10,000 B.C.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Search for Shangri-La

The dream of an earthly paradise immune to the squalid wickedness of the world and the ravages of time comes to us from the depths of antiquity. One such place was - Shangri-La.

In the novel “Lost Horizon” published in 1933, James Hilton takes us on an odyssey to the earthly paradise Shangri-La hidden in a valley somewhere in the Himalayas between Tibet and India. Of all of James Hilton’s works this was always my most favourite.

But, is the legend of Shangri-La rooted in some, very real, earthly reality? Did such a place really exist? Today on Discovery Enterprise we are going on an epic voyage in search of the real Shangri-La with renowned BBC journalist Michael Wood in his awe inspiring documentary series “In Search of Myths and Heroes.”

We are also going to teleport ourselves to Shangri-La through the power of cinematic magic and the vision of legendary film director Frank Capra in his film masterpiece that brought James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon to life on the silver screen.

So join us dear readers and let us take you on a magical voyage away from the dreary drudgery and cares of your everyday life to the far away and carefree world of Shangri-La. May you like, our hero Conway, find your own very real Shangri-La.

In Search of Myths and Heroes – The Search for Shangri-La

Frank Capara's famous motion picture classic - Lost Horizon (1937)