Dec. 11, 2006

Bloggers around the world celebrate Carl Sagan's life on the 10th anniversary of his death

Fans and bloggers are planning a worldwide blog-a-thon to commemorate the life and legacy of Carl Sagan -- consummate scientist, communicator and educator -- on Dec. 20, the 10th anniversary of his death. Sagan was Cornell's David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences.

The event, organized by New York City fan Joel Schlosberg, encourages bloggers of all stripes to discuss the Cornell astronomer's influence in their lives. Schlosberg plans to compile a meta-blog -- a blog of blogs -- following the event to link Sagan bloggers to one another.

Nick Sagan, one of Sagan's sons, supports the effort. "The goal here is to make Dec. 20 a blogosphere-wide celebration of the life and works of Carl Sagan," he wrote. "So if you're a Carl Sagan fan with a blog, or you know someone who is, I hope you'll join in and take some time on that day to share your thoughts, memories, opinions and feelings about my dad. And if you could help spread the word, it would mean a lot to me."

Sagan, who was also director of Cornell's Laboratory for Planetary Studies, published more than 600 scientific papers and popular articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books -- including "The Dragons of Eden" (1977), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1978. With his wife, Ann Druyan, he co-produced the movie "Contact," based on his 1985 novel of the same title.

"Carl was a candle in the dark," said Yervant Terzian, the David Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences and former astronomy department chair, after Sagan's death. "He was, quite simply, the best science educator in the world this century. He touched hundreds of millions of people and inspired young generations to pursue the sciences."

Sagan died Dec. 20, 1996, at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle following a two-year battle with a bone marrow disease.