The month of January seems to be developing a theme related to forward thinking. I say “seems to be” because I really don’t have any set idea about what I will find while searching for interesting material to add to this blog. I merely get up every day and do my usual reading. Along the way I find information that, well, seems interesting and then I endeavor to share it.
Recently, I was reading about the American scientist, Carl Sagan. There’s plenty of information online about this very interesting man and it seems a pity that he died at a relatively young age. Given the many projects he was involved with his bio reads like someone who had lived two lifetimes. He was actually much more than just a scientist. He was an astronomer, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, and author of over 20 books! The Library of Congress holds more than 600 of Sagan’s scientific papers.
Most of his career was spent at Cornell University as professor of astronomy and director of Planetary Studies. Sagan also co-authored and narrated the very popular 1980s television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The series was one of the most widely watched in the history of public television and it made the study of the universe accessible for millions of people. As a visiting scientist to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he contributed to the first Mariner missions to Venus, working on design and management of the project.
He was a powerful supporter of scientific skeptical inquiry. Sagan was an idea man and considered by many to be a liaison between sciences. He also had a terrific ability to share his knowledge. You can go to this site – The Carl Sagan Portal a gateway to several additional Carl Sagan sites. Their “mission is to awaken the broadest possible public to the wonders of nature as revealed by science.”
Carl Sagan also shared a long friendship with Harvard professor of psychiatry, Dr. Lester Grinspoon. Both men were regular users of cannabis. Here is an essay Sagan wrote on the subject. Sagan and Grinspoon were advocates for legalization of cannabis for both medical and recreational use.