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Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage
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Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage

Carl Sagan Cosmos
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a 13-part television series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, presented by Carl Sagan. It was executive-produced by Adrian Malone, produced by David Kennard, Geoffrey Haines-Stiles and Gregory Andorfer, and directed by the producers, David Oyster, Richard Wells, Tom Weidlinger, and others. Cosmos covered a wide range of scientific subjects, including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe.

The series was first broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1980 and was the most widely watched series in the history of American public television until The Civil War (1990). As of 2009, it was still the most widely watched PBS series in the world. It won an Emmy and a Peabody Award and has since been broadcast in more than 60 countries and seen by over 500 million people. A book was also published in 1994 to accompany the series.

Watch Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" on Hulu

List of "Cosmos" Episodes

Episode 1: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean
Original Air Date: September 28, 1980

Episode 2: One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue
Original Air Date: October 5, 1980

Episode 3: Harmony of the Worlds
Original Air Date: October 12, 1980

Episode 4: Heaven and Hell
Original Air Date: October 19, 1980

Episode 5: Blues for a Red Planet
Original Air Date: October 26, 1980

Episode 6: Travellers’ Tales
Original Air Date: November 2, 1980

Episode 7: The Backbone of Night
Original Air Date: November 9, 1980

Episode 8: Journeys in Space and Time
Original Air Date: November 16, 1980

Episode 9: The Lives of the Stars
Original Air Date: November 23, 1980

Episode 10: The Edge of Forever
Original Air Date: November 30, 1980

Episode 11: The Persistence of Memory
Original Air Date: December 7, 1980

Episode 12: Encyclopaedia Galactica
Original Air Date: December 14, 1980

Episode 13: Who Speaks for Earth?
Original Air Date: December 21, 1980

 

Carl Sagan CNN Interview

A Dialogue Sagan-Turner:
A Conversation with Carl Sagan & Ted Turner

VHS Release Date: November 1, 1989

 

Cosmos: Season II

Episode 1: Pale Blue Dot (1994)

Carl Sagan died after "Pale Blue Dot" Aired...

Cosmos Carl Sagan Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan
Cosmos Cosmic Calendar

 

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (Episodes)

International DVD ISBN 0-9703511-1-9

Episode 1: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean
Original Air Date: September 28, 1980

The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean
After an introduction by Ann Druyan, including the benefits of the end of the Cold War, Carl Sagan opens the program with a description of the cosmos and a "Spaceship of the Imagination" (shaped like a dandelion seed).

The ship journeys through the universes' hundred billion galaxies, the Local Group, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Milky Way, the Orion Nebula, our Solar System, and finally the planet Earth. Eratosthenes' successful calculation of the circumference of Earth leads to a description of the ancient Library of Alexandria.

Finally, the "Ages of Science" are described, before pulling back to the full span of the Cosmic Calendar.

 

Episode 2: One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue
Original Air Date: October 5, 1980

One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue
Sagan discusses the story of the Heike crab and artificial selection of crabs resembling samurai warriors, as an opening into a larger discussion of evolution through natural selection (and the pitfalls of intelligent design).

Among the topics are the development of life on the Cosmic Calendar and the Cambrian explosion; the function of DNA in growth; genetic replication, repairs, and mutation; the common biochemistry of terrestrial organisms; the creation of the molecules of life in the Miller-Urey experiment; and speculation on alien life (such as life in Jupiter's clouds). In the Cosmos Update ten years later, Sagan remarks on RNA also controlling chemical reactions and reproducing itself and the different roles of comets (potentially carrying organic molecules or causing the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event).

 

Episode 3: Harmony of the Worlds
Original Air Date: October 12, 1980

Harmony of the Worlds
Beginning with the separation of the fuzzy thinking and pious fraud of astrology from the careful observations of astronomy, Sagan follows the development of astronomical observation.

Beginning with constellations and ceremonial calendars (such as those of the Anasazi), the story moves to the debate between Earth and Sun-centered models: Ptolemy and the geocentric worldview, Copernicus' theory, the data-gathering of Tycho Brahe, and the achievements of Johannes Kepler (Kepler's laws of planetary motion and the first science-fiction novel).

 

Venus - Heaven and HellEpisode 4: Heaven and Hell
Original Air Date: October 19, 1980

Sagan discusses comets and asteroids as planetary impactors, giving recent examples of the Tunguska event and a lunar impact described by Canterbury monks in 1178.

It moves to a description of the environment of Venus, from the previous fantastic theories of people such as Immanuel Velikovsky to the information gained by the Venera landers and its implications for Earth's greenhouse effect.

The Cosmos Update highlights the connection to global warming.

 

Episode 5: Blues for a Red Planet
Original Air Date: October 26, 1980

Mars - Blues for a Red Planet
The episode, devoted to the planet Mars, begins with scientific and fictional speculation about the Red Planet during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, Edgar Rice Burroughs' science fiction books, and Percival Lowell's false vision of canals on Mars).

It then moves to Robert Goddard's early experiments in rocket-building, inspired by reading science fiction, and the work by Mars probes, including the Viking, searching for life on Mars.

The episode ends with the possibility of the terraforming and colonization of Mars and a Cosmos Update on the relevance of Mars' environment to Earth's and the possibility of a manned mission to Mars.

 

Travellers’ TalesEpisode 6: Travellers’ Tales (Travelers')
Original Air Date: November 2, 1980

The journeys of the Voyager probes is put in the context of the Netherlands in the seventeenth century, with a centuries-long tradition of sailing ship explorers, and its contemporary thinks (such as Constantijn Huygens and his son Christian).

Their discoveries are compared to the Voyager probes' discoveries among the Jovian and Saturn systems.

In Cosmos Update, image processing reconstructs Voyager’s worlds and Voyager’s last portrait of the Solar System as it leaves is shown.

 

 

Episode 7: The Backbone of Night
Original Air Date: November 9, 1980

The Backbone of Night
Carl Sagan teaches students in a classroom in his childhood home in Brooklyn, New York, which leads into a history of the different mythologies about stars and the gradual revelation of their true nature.

In ancient Greece, some philosophers (Aristarchus of Samos, Thales of Miletus, Anaximander, Theodorus of Samos, Empedocles, Democritus) freely pursue scientific knowledge, while others (Plato, Aristotle, and the Pythagoreans) advocate slavery and epistemic secrecy.

 

Episode 8: Journeys in Space and Time
(Travels in Space and Time)
Original Air Date: November 16, 1980

Journeys in Space and Time
Ideas about time and space are explored in the changes that constellations undergo over time, the redshift and blue shift measured in interstellar objects, time dilation in Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, the designs of both Leonardo da Vinci and spacecraft that could travel near light speed, time travel and its hypothetical effects on human history, the origins of the Solar System, the history of life, and the immensity of space. In Cosmos Update, the idea of faster-than-light travel by wormholes (researched by Kip Thorne and shown in Sagan’s novel Contact) is discussed. 

 

Episode 9: The Lives of the Stars
Original Air Date: November 23, 1980

The Lives of the Stars
The simple act of making an apple pie is extrapolated into the atoms and subatomic particles (electrons, protons, and neutrons) necessary. Many of the ingredients necessary are formed of chemical elements formed in the life and deaths of stars (such as our own Sun), resulting in massive red giants and supernovae or collapsing into white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars, and even black holes. These produce all sorts of phenomena, such as radioactivity, cosmic rays, and even the curving of spacetime by gravity. Cosmos Update mentions the supernova SN 1987A and neutrino astronomy.

 

Episode 10: The Edge of Forever
Original Air Date: November 30, 1980

The Edge of Forever
Beginning with the origins of the universe in the Big Bang, Sagan describes the formation of different types of galaxies and anomalies such as galactic collisions and quasars. The episodes moves further into ideas about the structure of the Universe, such as different dimensions (in the imaginary Flatland and four-dimensional hypercubes), an infinite vs. a finite universe, and the idea of an oscillating Universe (similar to that in Hindu cosmology). The search into other ideas such as dark matter and the multiverse is shown, using tools such as the Very Large Array in New Mexico. Cosmos Update shows new information about the odd, irregular surfaces of galaxies and the Milky Way perhaps being a barred spiral galaxy.

 

Episode 11: The Persistence of Memory
Original Air Date: December 7, 1980

The Persistence of Memory
The idea of intelligence is explored in the concepts of computers (using bits as their basic units of information), whales (in their songs and their disruptions by human activities), DNA, the human brain (the evolution of the brain stem, frontal lobes, neurons, cerebral hemispheres, and corpus callosum under the Triune Brain Model), and man-made structures for collective intelligence (cities, libraries, books, computers, and satellites).

The episode ends with speculation on alien intelligence and the information conveyed on the Voyager Golden Record.

 

Episode 12: Encyclopaedia Galactica
(Encyclopedia Galactica)
Original Air Date: December 14, 1980

Encyclopaedia Galactica
Questions are raised about the search for intelligent life beyond the Earth, with UFOs and other close encounters refuted in favor of communications through SETI and radio telescope such as the Arecibo Observatory. The probability of technically advanced civilizations existing elsewhere in the Milky Way is interpreted using the Drake equation and a future hypothetical Encyclopedia Galactica is discussed as a repository of information about other worlds in the galaxy. The Cosmos Update notes that there have been fewer sightings of UFOs and more stories of abductions, while mentioning the META scanning the skies for signals.

 

Episode 13: Who Speaks for Earth?
Original Air Date: December 21, 1980

Who Speaks for Earth?
Sagan reflects on the future of humanity and the question of "who speaks for Earth?" when meeting extraterrestrials. He discusses the very different meetings of the Tlingit people and explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse with the destruction of the Aztecs by Spanish conquistadors, the looming threat of nuclear warfare, and the threats shown by destruction of the Library of Alexandria and the murder of Hypatia.

The episode ends with a overview of the beginning of the universe, the evolution of life, and the accomplishments of humanity and makes a plea to for mankind to cherish life and continue its journey in the cosmos. The Cosmos Update notes the preliminary reconnaissance of planets with spacecraft, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid in South Africa, and measures towards the reduction of nuclear weapons. 

 

Carl Sagan CNN Interview

A Dialogue Sagan-Turner:
A Conversation with Carl Sagan & Ted Turner

VHS Release Date: November 1, 1989

A Conversation with Carl Sagan and Ted Turner
Some versions of the series, including the first North American home video VHS release (though not the DVD release), included a specially-made fourteenth episode, which consisted of an hour-long interview between Sagan and Ted Turner, in which the two discussed the series and new discoveries made in the years since its first broadcast.

In this classic interview from 1989, Dr. Carl Sagan, possibly the greatest populariser of fundamental science in modern history, has a conversation with CNN founder and environmental philanthropist Ted Turner.

 

Cosmos Special Edition (1986)


The 1986 special edition of Cosmos featured new computer animated sequences as well as new narration and filmed segments with Sagan (including content from Sagan's book Comet and discussion of his theory of nuclear winter, none of which was used in subsequent television or home video releases).

Premiering as one marathon program on the TBS network (and later broadcast in the United States, Japan, Germany, Australia, Singapore, and Argentina), the series is much shorter than the original, at four and a half hours, and was cut into six 45-minute episodes:

Other Worlds
(Part 1 & Part 2)

Children of the Stars
(Part 1 & Part 2)

Message from the Sky
(Part 1 & Part 2)

This version of Cosmos contains a mix of music used in the original series, with a unique composed specially by Vangelis for this series. The score is often referred to as Comet, with "Comet 16" acting as the title and ending theme of each episode ("Comet 16" is the only one of the total 21 cues that has officially been released, though some of the new music appears in the 2000 remastered DVD release).

 

1994 Carl Sagan Book

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space is a non-fiction book by Carl Sagan. It is the sequel to Cosmos: A Personal Voyage and was inspired by the "Pale Blue Dot" photograph, for which Sagan provides a sobering description. In this book, Sagan mixes philosophy about the human place in the universe with a description of the current knowledge about the Solar System. He also details a human vision for the future.

1994 Carl Sagan Cosmos BookThe first part of the book looks at the claims made throughout history that Earth and the human species are unique. Sagan makes two claims for the persistence of the idea of a geocentric, or Earth-centered universe: human pride in our existence, and the threat of torturing those who dissented from it, particularly during the time of the Roman Inquisition. However, he also admits that the scientific tools to prove the Earth orbited the Sun were (until the last few hundred years) not accurate enough to measure effects such as parallax, making it difficult for astronomers to prove that the geocentric theory was false.

After saying that we have gained humility from understanding that we are not, literally, the center of the universe, Sagan embarks on an exploration of the entire solar system. He begins with an account of the Voyager program, in which Sagan was a participating scientist. He describes the difficulty of working with the low light levels at distant planets, and the mechanical and computer problems which beset the twin spacecraft as they aged, and which could not always be diagnosed and fixed remotely. Sagan then examines each one of the major planets, as well as some of the moons - including Titan, Triton, and Miranda - focusing on whether life is possible at the frontiers of the solar system.

Sagan argues that studying other planets provides context for understanding the Earth—and protecting humanity's only home planet from environmental catastrophe. He believes that NASA's decision to cut back exploration of the Moon after the Apollo program was a short-sighted decision, despite the expense and the failing popularity of the program among the United States public. Sagan says future exploration of space should focus on ways to protect Earth and to extend human habitation beyond it. The book was published the year after the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashed into Jupiter, an event Sagan uses to highlight the danger Earth faces from the occasional asteroid or comet large enough to cause substantial damage if it were to hit Earth. He says we need the political will to track large extraterrestrial objects, or we risk losing everything. Sagan argues that in order to save the human race, space colonization and terraforming should be utilized.

Later in the book, Sagan's wife, Ann Druyan, challenges readers to pick one of the other planetary dots photographed and featured in the book, and imagine that there are inhabitants on that world who believe that the universe was created solely for themselves. She shared Sagan's belief that humans are not as important as they think they are.

The first edition of the book includes an extensive list of illustrations and photographs, mostly provided by NASA. Other editions reference various figures which are not included.

 

Cosmos: Season II (1994)

Episode 1: Pale Blue Dot (1994)

The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) from Earth, as part of the solar system Family Portrait series of images. In the photograph, Earth is shown as a tiny dot (0.12 pixel in size) against the vastness of space. The Voyager 1 spacecraft, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving the Solar System, was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and to take a photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of Carl Sagan.

Subsequently, the title of the photograph was used by Sagan as the main title of his 1994 book, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

 

Cosmos Audio CDCosmos Audio CD (1994)

In 1994, RCA Records reissued the original soundtrack compilation on compact disc and, in 2002, reissued it on its Collectables label (RCA 07863 54003-2 USA; Collectables COL-CD-6293 USA).

In 2002, a special two-disc "collector's edition" of music from the series was released to coincide with the DVD reissue, containing complete versions of many of the songs from series only available as snippets on previous releases.

 

Cosmos 2: The Sequel!! (2013-2014)

On August 5, 2011, plans were announced for a sequel to the series, bringing up-to-date special effects and scientific discoveries to the themes and messages of the original series. The new series, referred to as Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey, is slated to air on Fox sometime between Fall 2013 to Spring 2014. It is to be hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and will be produced by Ann Druyan, popular science broadcaster and author, and Sagan's widow, along with Steven Soter, and Seth MacFarlane.

 

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Season 1 on FOX TV

Cosmos - A Spacetime Odyssey
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a 2014 American science documentary television series. The show is a follow-up to the 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was presented by Carl Sagan on the Public Broadcasting Service and is considered a milestone for scientific documentaries. This series was developed to bring back the foundation of science to network television at the height of other scientific-based television series and films.

The show is presented by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was inspired by Sagan as a young college student. Among the executive producers are Seth MacFarlane, whose clout and financial investment was instrumental in bringing the show to broadcast television, and Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow and a co-creator of the original series. The series loosely follows the same thirteen-episode format and storytelling approach that the original Cosmos used, including elements such as the "Ship of the Imagination", but features information updated since the 1980 series along with extensive computer-generated graphics and animation footage augmenting the narration. The show is produced by Brannon Braga, and Alan Silvestri provides the backing score.

The series premiered on March 9, 2014, simultaneously in the US across ten 21st Century Fox networks. The remainder of the series will air on Fox, with the National Geographic Channel rebroadcasting the episodes the next night with extra content. The series has been rebroadcast internationally in dozens of other countries by local National Geographic and Fox stations.

 

Episide 1: "Standing Up in the Milky Way"

Standing Up in the Milky Way
The show begins with a brief introduction recorded by President of the United States Barack Obama describing the "spirit of discovery" that the series aspires to give to its viewers.

Tyson opens the episode to reflect on the importance of Sagan's original Cosmos, and the goals of this series. He introduces the viewer to the "Ship of the Imagination", the show's narrative device to explore the universe's past, present, and future. Tyson takes the viewer to show where Earth sits in the scope of the known universe, defining the Earth's "address" within the Virgo Supercluster. Tyson explains how humanity has not always seen the universe in this manner, and describes the hardships and persecution of Renaissance Italian Giordano Bruno in challenging the prevailing geocentric model held by the Catholic Church.

The episode continues onto the scope of time, using the concept of the Cosmic Calendar as used in the original series to provide a metaphor for this scale. The narration describes how if the Big Bang occurred on January 1, all of mankind's recorded history would be compressed in the last second of the last minute on December 31. Tyson concludes the episode by recounting how Sagan inspired him as a student as well as his other contributions to the scientific community.

 

Episide 2: "Some of the Things That Molecules Do"

Some of the Things That Molecules Do
The episode covers several facets of the origin of life and evolution. Tyson describes both artificial selection via selective breeding, using the example of mankind's domestication of wolves into dogs, and natural selection that created species like polar bears. Tyson uses the Ship of the Imagination to show how DNA, genes, and mutation work, and how these led to the diversity of species as represented by the Tree of life, including how complex organs such as the eye came about as a common element.

Tyson describes extinction of species and the five great extinction events that wiped out numerous species on Earth, while some species, such as the tardigrade, were able to survive and continue life. Tyson speculates on the possibility of life on other planets, such as Saturn's moon, Titan, as well as how abiogenesis may have originated life on Earth. The episode concludes with an animation from the original Cosmos showing the evolution of life from a single cell to mankind today.

 

Episide 3: "When Knowledge Conquered Fear"

When Knowledge Conquered Fear
The episode begins with Tyson describing how pattern recognition manifested in early civilization as using astronomy and astrology to predict the passing of the seasons, including how the passage of a comet was often taken as an omen. Tyson continues to explain that the origin of comets only became known in the 20th century due to the work of Jan Oort and his hypothesis of the Oort cloud.

Tyson then continues to relate the collaboration between Edmond Halley and Isaac Newton in the last part of the 17th century in Cambridge. The collaboration would result in the publication of Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, the first major work to describe the laws of physics in mathematical terms, despite objections and claims of plagiarism from Robert Hooke and financial difficulties of the Royal Society of London. Tyson explains how this work challenged the prevailing notion that God had planned out the heavens, but would end up influencing many factors of modern life, including space flight.

Tyson further describes Halley's contributions based on Newton's work, including determining Earth's distance to the sun, the motion of stars and predicting the orbit of then-unnamed Halley's Comet using Newton's laws. Tyson contrasts these scientific approaches to understanding the galaxy compared to what earlier civilizations had done, and considers this advancement as mankind's first steps into exploring the universe. The episode ends with an animation of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies' merging based on the principles of Newton's laws.

 

Episide 4: "A Sky Full of Ghosts"

A Sky Full of Ghosts
Tyson begins the episode by explaining the nature of the speed of light and how much of what is seen of the observable universe is from light emanated from billions of years in the past. Tyson further explains how modern astronomy has used such analyzes via deep time to identify the Big Bang event and the age of the universe.

Tyson proceeds to describe how the work of Isaac Newton, William Herschel, Michael Faraday, and James Clerk Maxwell contributed to understanding the nature of electromagnetic waves and gravitational force, and how this work led towards Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity, that the speed of light is a fundamental constant of the universe and gravity can be seen as distortion of the fabric of space-time. Tyson describes the concept of dark stars as postulated by John Michell which are not visible but detectable by tracking other stars trapped within their gravity wells, an idea Herschel used to discover binary stars.

Tyson then describes the nature of black holes, their enormous gravitational forces that can even capture light, and their discovery via X-ray sources such as Cygnus X-1. Tyson uses the Ship of Imagination to provide a postulate of the warping of spacetime and time dilation as one enters the event horizon of the black hole, and the possibility that these may lead to other points within our universe or others, or even time travel. Tyson ends on noting that Herschel's son, John would be inspired by his father to continue to document the known stars as well as contributions towards photography that play on the same nature of deep time used by astronomers.

Animated sequences in this episode feature caricatures of William and John Herschel; Sir Patrick Stewart provided the voice for William in these segments.

 

Episide 5: "Hiding in the Light"

Hiding in the LightThis episode explores the wave theory of light as studied by mankind, noting that light has played an important role in scientific progress, with such early experiments from over 2000 years ago involving the camera obscura by the Chinese philosopher Mozi. Tyson describes the work of the 11th century Arabic scientist Ibn al-Haytham, considered to be one of the first to postulate on the nature of light and optics leading to the concept of the telescope, as well as one of the first researchers to use the scientific method.

Tyson proceeds to discuss the nature of light as discovered by mankind. Work by Isaac Newton using dispersion through prisms demonstrated that light was composed of the visible spectrum, while findings of William Herschel in the 19th century showed that light also consisted of infrared rays. Joseph von Fraunhofer would later come to discover that by magnifying the spectrum of visible light, gaps in the spectrum would be observed. These Fraunhofer lines would later be determined to be caused by the absorption of light by electrons in moving between atomic orbitals when it passed through atoms, with each atom having a characteristic signature due to the quantum nature of these orbitals. This since has led to the core of astronomical spectroscopy, allowing astronomers to make observations about the composition of stars, planets, and other stellar features through the spectral lines, as well as observing the motion and expansion of the universe, and the existence of dark matter.

 

Episide 6: "Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still"

Episide 7: "The Clean Room"

Episide 8: "Sisters of the Sun"

Episide 9: "The Electric Boy"

Episide 10: "The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth"

Episide 11: "The Immortals"

Episide 12: "The World Set Free"

Episide 13: "Unafraid of the Dark"

 

Quotes from Carl Sagan

"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

"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

"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

"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love." — Carl Sagan

"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

"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

"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

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." — Carl Sagan

"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere." — Carl Sagan

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
— Carl Sagan

"Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works."
— Carl Sagan

"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

"Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge." — Carl Sagan

"Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense."
— Carl Sagan

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." — Carl Sagan

"The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous." — Carl Sagan

"The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition." — Carl Sagan

"The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent." — Carl Sagan

"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

"We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology."
— Carl Sagan

"We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology."
— Carl Sagan

"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

"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 Sagan

 

About Cosmos TV Series, Book & Sequel

Cosmos was produced in 1978 and 1979 by Los Angeles PBS affiliate KCET on a roughly $6.3 million budget, with over $2 million additionally allocated to promotion. The program's format is similar to earlier BBC documentaries like Kenneth Clark's Civilisation, Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man and David Attenborough's Life on Earth. (The BBC – a co-producer of Cosmos — later screened the series, but episodes were cut to fit 50-minute slots.) However, unlike those series, which were shot entirely on film, Cosmos used videotape for interior scenes and special effects, with film being used for exteriors.

The series was notable for its groundbreaking use of special effects, which allowed Sagan to seemingly walk through environments that were actually models rather than full-sized sets. The soundtrack included pieces of music provided by Greek composer Vangelis such as Alpha, Pulstar, and Heaven and Hell Part 1 (the last movement serving as the signature theme music for the show, and is directly referenced by the title of episode 4). Throughout the 13 hours of the series, it used many tracks from several 1970s albums such as Albedo 0.39, Spiral, Ignacio, Beaubourg, and China. The worldwide success of the documentary series also put Vangelis' music in the homes of many and brought it to the attention of a global audience.

Turner Home Entertainment purchased Cosmos from series producer KCET in 1989. In making the move to commercial television, the hour-long episodes were edited to shorter lengths, and Sagan shot new epilogues for several episodes in which he discussed new discoveries (and alternate viewpoints) that had arisen since the original broadcast. Additionally, a 14th episode was added which consisted of an interview between Sagan and Ted Turner, and this "new" version of the series was eventually released as a VHS box set. This same re-edited version was also released on 12" Laserdisc, a popular consumer format at the time and precursor to the DVD. Two episodes were released per disc (one episode on each side). The laserdiscs were sold separately, not in a boxed set configuration like the VHS tapes.

Cosmos had long been unavailable after its initial release because of copyright issues with the included music, but was released in 2000 on worldwide NTSC DVD, which includes subtitles in seven languages, remastered 5.1 sound, as well as an alternate music and sound effects track. In 2005, The Science Channel rebroadcast the series for its 25th anniversary with updated computer graphics, film footage, digital sound and updated scientific knowledge that had occurred in the past 25 years. Despite being shown again on the Science Channel, the total amount of time for the original 13 episodes (780 minutes) was reduced 25% to 585 minutes (45 minutes per episode) in order to make room for commercials.

In 2009, Freemantle Media Enterprises released in the UK, a 5-disc DVD set of the original series plus with bonus science updates. The DVD set was digitally restored and remastered. Although a little grainy in places, it is generally considered to be the best reproduction of the original series to date.

 

About Cosmos, Cosmic, Cosmology

In the general sense, a cosmos is an orderly or harmonious system. It originates from the Greek term κόσμος (kosmos), meaning "order" or "ornament" and is antithetical to the concept of chaos. Today, the word is generally used as a synonym of the Latin loanword "Universe" (considered in its orderly aspect). The word cosmetics originates from the same root. In many Slavic languages such as Russian and Bulgarian, the word Космос cosmos means also the "outer space". In Mandarin Chinese, cosmos and universe are both translated as 宇宙 yuzhou, which literally translated means space-time (宇 yu = space + 宙 zhou = time).

Philosophy

Pythagoras is said to have been the first philosopher to apply the term cosmos to the Universe, perhaps referring to the starry firmament.

Russian cosmism is a cosmocentric philosophical and cultural movement that emerged in Russia in the early 20th century.

Cosmicism is a philosophical position that mankind is an insignificant aspect of a universe at best indifferent and perhaps hostile. This philosophy, explored by writers such as H.P. Lovecraft (who some say is the original proponent of the philosophy) and later writers who actually represented the beliefs in books such as Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Theology - Religious cosmology

In theology, the term can be used to denote the created Universe, not including the creator. In Christian theology, the word was also used synonymously with aion to refer to "worldly life" or "this world" as opposed to the afterlife or World to Come.

The cosmos as originated by Pythagoras is parallel to the Zoroastrian term aša, the concept of a divine order, or divinely ordered creation.

Cosmology

Cosmology is the study of the cosmos in several of the above meanings, depending on context. All cosmologies have in common an attempt to understand the implicit order within the whole of being. In this way, most religions and philosophical systems have a cosmology.

In physical cosmology, the term cosmos is often used in a technical way, referring to a particular space-time continuum within the (postulated) multiverse. Our particular cosmos is generally capitalized as the Cosmos.

Integral Philosophy

The philosopher Ken Wilber uses the term kosmos to refer to all of manifest existence, including various realms of consciousness. The term kosmos so used distinguishes a nondual Universe (which, in his view, includes both noetic and physical aspects) from the strictly physical Universe that is the concern of the traditional sciences. Wilber's nephew (Cosmo Iacavazzi, fullback at Princeton University) is said to have been named after the scientific term.

Ancient Greek conception of the cosmos

The Ancient Greek natural philosopher Archimedes in his essay The Sand Reckoner, estimated the diameter of the cosmos to be the equivalent in stadia of what we call two light years.

Age and size of the cosmos = Observable universe

According to current scientific theory, the cosmos began 13.7 billion years ago short scale in the Big Bang. The current diameter of the observable cosmos is thought to be about 93 billion light years.

The diameter of the entire cosmos is unknown. However, according to Alan Guth's inflation theory, the actual size of the cosmos is at least fifteen orders of magnitude larger than the observable universe. This means that if the inflation theory is correct, the 93 billion light year diameter of the observable universe is approximately as much smaller than the diameter of the entire universe as the diameter of a helium atom is compared to the diameter of the Sun. This is equivalent to a minimum diameter of the entire cosmos of 1026 light years (100 septillion light years short scale).

 

Additional Cosmos Resources

 

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