Fifteen years ago today

Published 2011-12-20

I miss that Real Grownups (like Johnny Carson!) took seriously a gentle man in a turtleneck who spoke about “star stuff.”

I miss that science was once considered a means by which to glimpse the divine.

I miss a man who dared to write four pages for Parade Magazine about abortion, and somehow got most people to agree with him.

I miss the guy who wrote a screenplay and a novel about traveling to outer space to converse with aliens, that didn’t insult the audience’s intelligence.

I miss his awesome Cosmos spaceship which he piloted with a look of spacey awe.

I miss that his work had as much History as Future in it; that we could never know where we were going without understanding how we arrived at where we were.

Carl Sagan was my hero as a kid. I read Cosmic Connection very very slowly when I was ten, it was the first “hard book” I had ever read. He was a pretty good scientist and a phenomenal communicator. He never talked down to us, he assumed our best natures, he made difficult concepts comprehensible. I admit I’m a huge nerd, but he made science seem cool.