Carl Sagan - scientist, philosopher, writer

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Carl Sagan - scientist, philosopher, writer
Carl Sagan - scientist, philosopher, writer

American scientist astrophysicist Carl Sagan is one of those people who shape the intellectual atmosphere of the era. A brilliant scientist and popularizer of science, he de alt with the problems of space research, communication with extraterrestrial civilizations, and exobiology. In his books, he raised philosophical problems about the place of man in the universe, about his purpose and role in the universe.

Sagan was born in New York in 1934. He graduated from the University of Chicago, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees, and then became a doctor of astrophysics and astronomy. He worked at Berkeley, taught at Harvard, and became head of the Planetary Research Laboratory at Cornell University. The range of his scientific interests is unusually wide.


Exobiology is the science of life outside the earth's atmosphere. So far, the only biological objects that we know are terrestrial organisms. And the final answer about the origin of life on Earth still does not exist. Carl Sagan conducted experiments on the formation of compounds in the earth's pre-atmosphere. Subsequently, when information was received from space probes, he studied the possibility of such a synthesis in the matter of comets and on Saturn's satellite Titan.

galaxy merger


Carl Sagan was engaged in the study of objects in the solar system. He suggested that there were oceans on Titan and Europa (a moon of Jupiter). And in these oceans, under a layer of ice, there may be life. Sagan studied seasonal changes on Mars, and proposed a hypothesis about their nature. In his opinion, these changes are not caused by vegetation, as previously thought, but by dust storms.

The 1997 Mars Pathfinder landing site on Mars has been named the Carl Sagan Memorial Station.

The landing site of the Mars Pathfinder is featured in the Star Trek movie. In the same place we see a quote from Sagan:

Whatever the reason you are on Mars, I'm glad you're here and would love to be with you.

Carl Sagan with the rover

Studying the atmosphere of Venus, he simulated the possibility of a greenhouse effect on Earth from an excess of carbon dioxide.

At the same time as the Soviet academician N. N. Moiseev, Sagan expressed the idea of ​​a nuclear winter that threatens the Earth as a result of a nuclear war.

Are we alone in the universe?

Do intelligent life exist in the Universe? Many would like to answer this question in the affirmative.

people look at the sky

Carl Sagan de alt with this issue a lot. The book by I. Shklovsky "The Universe, Life, Mind", published in the Soviet Union in 1962, made a great impression on Sagan. He was the co-author of its translation into English in 1966. The book was published under the title: "Intelligent life inuniverse". Sagan shared his article "Problems of Interstellar Communication" with Shklovsky. He was a supporter of the Seti program for searching for signals from space. As part of the program, radio telescopes scanned the sky and sent blocks of signals to users' computers around the world. Those who wished to participate had to install on their computer a small client program that processed the signal in the background.In more than twenty years of work, there have been several points of interest that have not yet been fully clarified.

Despite his fascination with alien life forms, Sagan was very skeptical of the so-called. ufology. He considered most of the information about UFOs to be speculative and charlatan.


The Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecraft were launched from Earth to explore the outskirts of the solar system.

spacecraft Pioneer-10

"Pioneer 10" was supposed to be the first artificial body to leave the solar system. Knowing this, Sagan offered to send a message to intelligent beings of other worlds on these devices. The messages were gilded aluminum plates measuring 6x9 inches. They depict a man and a woman in front of a spaceship, a hydrogen atom (the most common bonded atomic system in the universe). The wavelength of hydrogen radiation (21 cm) serves as a measure of measurement of all objects in the figure. The solar system with the flight path of the apparatus is also shown. Solar system coordinates givenpictogram with reference to the most noticeable pulsars, which can be considered a kind of beacons. The author of the drawings was the wife of Carl Sagan.

message to aliens

In 1983, Pioneer 10 crossed the orbit of Pluto and left the solar system. It received signals to Earth until 2003. Now the station is moving towards Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus. It takes about two million years to get there.

Science popularizer

Wishing to make the fantastic progress of science available to a large number of people, Sagan wrote books, made popular science films.

Written by Carl Sagan "World full of demons". This book is devoted to the story of the basic principles of scientific knowledge. It talks about how to distinguish true scientific knowledge from pseudoscientific ones, formulates principles that make it possible to distinguish true knowledge from pseudoscientific fabrications. This book was published in 1995. The principles outlined in the book can be applied in everyday life. They will help solve problems that, at first glance, seem unsolvable.

Carl Sagan "Blue Dot. The Cosmic Future of Mankind" - this book appeared in 1994. The book is dedicated to debunking the myth of the exclusivity of our planet, tells about the prospects for a possible space expansion of mankind. He talks about the planets of other systems, talks about the possibility of life on them. Knowledge about these planets allows us to get to know our Earth better, to see its problems from the outside. Carl Sagan's Blueperiod" is a warning to mankind.

sagan book

There are many more interesting books in Sagan's bibliography. They are waiting for their reader.

Carl Sagan, whose books led many researchers to science, was actively involved in social activities. He participated in the struggle for peace. He criticized American attempts to put weapons systems into space. The USSR also got it from him for the totalitarian regime and the lack of democracy.

Carl Sagan died in 1996. Buried in New York.

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