Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cosmos from Generation to Generation

During high school, well before the world-wide web with its bloggers and YouTube, out came a series Cosmos that I watched religiously. Back then you had to watch a show when it was aired and no skipping of commercials, though Cosmos was a PBS (public-broadcasting) show so it didn't have any. Cosmos was hosted by the late great Carl Sagan. While I don't remember the contents of the show so much, I do remember being quite inspired by it and the show surely played a role in my future life as a scientist.

I went to Cornell as an undergrad just a year after Cosmos' broadcast. Carl Sagan was a legend on campus, though I saw him just once, in a debate over Ronald Reagan's Star Wars plan. Sagan did have an amazing house looking out over the Ithaca gorge that you could see from the suspension bridge I crossed every day.

Now my younger daughter is in high school and Neil deGrasse Tyson takes on the difficult task of updating Cosmos for this new generation. Molly and I watched the first episode last night. (I'm still blown away we can watch when we want and skip the commercials.) It really brought back memories of the original show and I was really touched when Tyson talked about meeting Sagan as a high school student.

Tyson is giving a talk at Georgia Tech next month. Tickets went on sale yesterday and sold out within hours. Incredible to see the return of the scientific superstar.


  1. Incredible to see the return of the scientific superstar.

    Did it ever go away? Locally we have ran out of tickets within an hour for Hawking, Lisa Randall, Freeman Dyson, Roger Penrose, Lenny Susskind, Cook, Jill Tarter, Witten, Vint Cerf, and that is just off the top of my head.

  2. this the debate?

    1. An earlier one since I graduated in '85 but I'm sure Sagan made very similar points.

    2. Actually, now having watched it, they referred to an earlier debate...might have been yours that they were talking about.