Carl Sagan was born Carl Edward Sagan in Brooklyn, New York on November 9, 1934.
His interest in astronomy began early in his life, and when he was five years old, his mother sent him to the library to find books on stars. Soon afterwards, his parents took him to the New York World’s Fair, where interest of the future made his passion grow further.
He also quickly became a fan of the prevalent 1940s science-fiction stories in popular magazines of the times. He was drawn in by reports of flying saucers that suggested extraterrestrial life.
Thought provoking Carl Sagan Quotes about our place in the universe
Sagan graduated high school early, at age 16 in 1951, and then went off to the University of Chicago, where he later graduated with a BA in Physics. After going on to receive a Masters in physics, and a Ph.D in astronomy and astrophysics, he landed at the University of California, Berkeley, as a fellow in astronomy.
There, he helped develop NASA’s Mariner 2 robotic probe’s infrared radiometer.While working with NASA, Sagan helped to choose where the probes of the Viking would touch down on Mars, and even helped to craft the messages sent out with the Pioneer and the Voyager probes that were sent out of our solar system.
By the 1970s and 80s, Sagan was the United States’ most well-known scientist, due to his authorship of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Cosmos, Pale Blue Dot: A vision for the human future in space, The Dragons of Eden: Speculations of the evolution of human intelligence, Contact, Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors, Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium, and his famous Cosmos DVD.
In 1980, he co-founded the Planetary Society, an international non-profit to focus on space exploration, and he also launched Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, a TV series he wrote and hosted.
Over Sagan’s career, he received many medals, including NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal (1977, 1981) and the National Academy of Sciences’ Public Welfare Medal (1994), plus a myriad of others. Carl Sagan is inspirational because, no matter how much recognition or how many awards he got, he never let it get to him. He just continued pursuing his love of the sciences.
Carl Sagan quotes about space, life and our role in the universe
1.) “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan
2.) “Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”– Carl Sagan
3.) “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” – Carl Sagan
4.) “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” – Carl Sagan
5.) “A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.” – Carl Sagan
More Carl Sagan quotes
6.) “For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” – Carl Sagan
7.) “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” – Carl Sagan
8.) “Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?” – Carl Sagan
9.) “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” – Carl Sagan
10.) “Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?” – Carl Sagan
11.) “In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.” – Carl Sagan
More Carl Sagan quotes from Blue Dot
12.) “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan
13.) “It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.” – Carl Sagan
14.) “I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.” – Carl Sagan
15.) “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” – Carl Sagan
16.) “We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.” – Carl Sagan
17.) “We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.” – Carl Sagan
18.) “The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” – Carl Sagan
19.) “You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.” – Carl Sagan
20.) “Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.” – Carl Sagan
More Carl Sagan quotes from Cosmos
21.) “How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.” – Carl Sagan
22.) “The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.” – Carl Sagan
23.) “The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.” – Carl Sagan
24.) “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” – Carl Sagan
25.) “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan
26.) “Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.” – Carl Sagan
27.) “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” – Carl Sagan
28.) “I can find in my undergraduate classes, bright students who do not know that the stars rise and set at night, or even that the Sun is a star.” – Carl Sagan
More quotes by Carl Sagan
29.) “Personally, I would be delighted if there were a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out.” – Carl Sagan
30.) “Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.” – Carl Sagan
31.) “‘If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?” – Carl Sagan
32.) “We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.” – Carl Sagan
33.) “The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.” – Carl Sagan
34.) “A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.” – Carl Sagan
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35.) “All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.” – Carl Sagan
36.) “The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.” – Carl Sagan
37.) “When you make the finding yourself – even if you’re the last person on Earth to see the light – you’ll never forget it.” – Carl Sagan
38.) “The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.” – Carl Sagan
39.) “We’ve arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology.” – Carl Sagan
40.) “I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.” – Carl Sagan
More Carl Sagan quotes about life and the universe
41.) “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” – Carl Sagan
42.) “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” – Carl Sagan
43.) But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” – Carl Sagan
44.) “There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.” – Carl Sagan
45.) “But I try not to think with my gut. If I’m serious about understanding the world, thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be, is likely to get me into trouble.” – Carl Sagan
46.) “Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.” – Carl Sagan
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47.) “What a marvelous cooperative arrangement – plants and animals each inhaling each other’s exhalations, a kind of planet-wide mutual mouth-to-stoma resuscitation, the entire elegant cycle powered by a star 150 million kilometers away.” – Carl Sagan
48.) “If God is omnipotent and omniscient, why didn’t he start the universe out in the first place so it would come out the way he wants? Why’s he constantly repairing and complaining? No, there’s one thing the Bible makes clear: The biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer. He’s not good at design, he’s not good at execution. He’d be out of business, if there was any competition.” – Carl Sagan
Which Carl Sagan quotes were your favorite?
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