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American Studies 104
14 March 2008
Found Voices: Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan was perhaps one of the most influential scientific minds
that the world has ever experienced. When he learned that stars were actually
extremely distant suns, his world was changed and the magnitude of the
universe opened up to him. Another strong motivator into science came with
his reading of a popular science fiction book of the time, The Burroughs
Tales. The stories were not extremely sound scientifically, but still
presented ideals of adventure and the unknown. The idea that life could
exist elsewhere in the universe fascinated Sagan and remained with him for
the rest of his life (Eicher).
Perhaps one of Sagan’s most famous individual accomplishments
was his involvement with the Pioneer 10 Space Probe. The probe was created
to be the first object to exit our galaxy. Sagan acknowledged that the chances
of anything actually discovering the probe were astronomical, but believed
that it was important to promote public appreciation for science and thought
the project to be “all in good fun” (McDonough 50).
Public appreciation for science was, in fact, what made Sagan the
“superstar scientist” that we hear of today. His ability to portray complex
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