“star stuff contemplating star stuff” : Remembering Carl Sagan

“Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people,” Carl Edward Sagan once said.

Even though I have been involved in astronomy for a while, but not until few years ago I discovered the “true Sagan”. Then thanks to Prof. Kavan Ratnatunga, last year I got an opportunity to watch all the episodes of COSMOS. Aired in more than 60 countries and viewed by 600 million people worldwide, this amazing series still is very effective though it was made in 80s.

What most inspired me about him was his ability to put something complicated in a very simplest form, so that anyone without a scientific background could understand it.

COSMOS and Sri Lanka

After seeing the series, Prof. Kavan and I decided to screen it at a local university for the undergraduate students. Each episode was followed by a discussion related to the theme.

Unfortunately the name Carl Sagan is not popular in Sri Lanka. Only handful of people is aware of this great mind. Since we, at Sri Lanka Astronomical Association planning programs for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 , under IYA2009 one of our goals would be to air COSMOS in our national channel with Sinhalese subtitles.

I hope during next year we’ll be able to get the necessary steps towards airing of COSMOS in Sri Lanka.


Check Joel’s Carl Sagan Memorial Blog-a-Thon, Celebrating Sagan blog and website.

"The significance of a finding that there are other beings who share this universe with us would be absolutely phenomenal, it would be an epochal event in human history."