Cosmos
Cosmos has 13 heavily illustrated chapters, corresponding to the 13 episodes of the Cosmos television series. In the book, Sagan explores 15 billion years of cosmic evolution and the development of science and civilization. Cosmos traces the origins of knowledge and the scientific method, mixing science and philosophy, and speculates to the future of science. The book also discusses the underlying premises of science by providing biographical anecdotes about many prominent scientists throughout history, placing their contributions into the broader context of the development of modern science.The book covers a broad range of topics, comprising Sagan's reflections on anthropological, cosmological, biological, historical, and astronomical matters from antiquity to contemporary times. Sagan reiterates his position on extraterrestrial life—that the magnitude of the universe permits the existence of thousands of alien civilizations, but no credible evidence exists to demonstrate that such life has ever visited earth.

Cosmos Details

TitleCosmos
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 7th, 2002
PublisherRandom House
ISBN-139780375508325
Rating
GenreScience, Nonfiction, Astronomy, Physics, History

Cosmos Review

  • Esther
    January 1, 1970
    Can I give this one ten stars? If I had a religion, I would be a Carl Saganian. Love him so much.
  • Samadrita
    January 1, 1970
    I wonder what Carl Sagan may have thought of 9/11 and the world in the new millennium, a strife-torn place which is being shaken up and shaken out every moment. I imagine the civil but slightly horrified and slightly bemused tone he may have employed while talking about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the antics of the Bush administration which have become such excellent fodder for stand up comedians the world over. And I can almost detect the note of boyish enthusiasm in his voice while he ma I wonder what Carl Sagan may have thought of 9/11 and the world in the new millennium, a strife-torn place which is being shaken up and shaken out every moment. I imagine the civil but slightly horrified and slightly bemused tone he may have employed while talking about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the antics of the Bush administration which have become such excellent fodder for stand up comedians the world over. And I can almost detect the note of boyish enthusiasm in his voice while he may have spoken of the Higgs Boson and explained the reasons behind the incorrect observation readings of the 'neutrinos being speedier than light particles' experiment that had made the headlines a few years ago.I can only imagine because he wasn't there to witness these watershed events and he isn't here to offer comment, criticism or share his inexhaustible repository of knowledge with us any longer. His time in the Cosmos had run out within two decades of the publication of this work - a testament to his own belief in the staggering inferiority of our evanescent lifetimes in the scheme of the universe(s). "Our familiar universe of galaxies and stars, planets and people, would be a single elementary particle in the next universe up, the first step of another infinite regress." It would be nice if I could summarize each one of the 13 chapters of 'Cosmos' and give readers the lowdown on our painstakingly slow but rewarding crawl through the fabric of space and time, the civilizational hurdle race towards a finish line which we can neither begin to envision nor fully comprehend yet. I could write a review in the conventional format, leaving you with a gentle nudge to read this book as soon as you can.Or, instead, I could simply write about how, despite being more than 30 years outdated, Carl Sagan's voice of reason rings truer than ever, cutting through the heart of all the din and chaos of our troubled times. I could just tell you how Sagan's deep and abiding love for nature and humanity reverberates in every page of this work and how our scientific endeavours across timelines and geographical boundaries, across the unending void which surrounds us on all sides, symbolize our collective pursuit of knowledge. "There is no other species on Earth that does science. It is, so far, entirely a human invention, evolved by natural selection in the cerebral cortex for one simple reason: it works. It is not perfect. It can be misused. It is only a tool. But it is by far the best tool we have, self-correcting, ongoing, applicable to everything. It has two rules. First: there are no sacred truths; all assumptions must be critically examined; arguments from authority are worthless. Second: whatever is inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised." The Cold War is a now defunct appendage of our history, the Soviet Union is no more, America has achieved a milestone in its race relations by welcoming its first African American President. But turmoil in the world order persists - the nuclear arms race between the Americans and the Soviets has been replaced by a newer dance of dominance in the Asia Pacific region. The world is as much embroiled in a mesh of steadily growing list of challenges as it was in the past, if not more. Preposterous decrees issued by fanatical outfits, blatant human rights violations, infringement on freedom of speech and expression, diplomatic arm-wrestling, the ever-enthusiastic decriers of science, 'War on Women', the shouts of the global-warming deniers reign supreme still. The players may have changed faces but the game of petty one-upmanship in the arena of global politics still continues unabated.Which is why Sagan's rousing call for all of mankind to unite under the identity of citizens of the Cosmos and not as citizens of a nation moves me to the core of my being. His recapitulation of our scientific advancements achieved against the tide of adverse circumstances, of the victories won in the face of persecution by religious authority, impresses upon us a sense of urgency - that with the exponential increase in the defense budgets of the global powers, the incentive given to the greatest minds of our times to devote time and energy to unraveling the mysteries of the Cosmos is reduced. As the concept of 'nuclear deterrence' receives a pat on the back, the global arms sales numbers continuing to soar despite hollow promises of arms control, more and more scientists are being engaged in improving weapons technology rather than validating the fact of our existence against the intimidating presence of the stars, galaxies and universes. The NASA budget cuts of recent times are proof of this ignominy.Is it to this end that the ancient advanced cities like Alexandria, the destroyed civilizations of Ionia and the Aztecs and pioneers such as Eratosthenes, Democritus, Aristarchus, Hypatia, Leonardo da Vinci, Copernicus, Galileo, Johannes Kepler, Tycho Brahe, Christiaan Huygens, Issac Newton and Albert Einstein worked tirelessly for? To further intensify mutual national antagonism and increase our probability of complete self-annihilation?Sagan thinks not. "Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for the Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring." This is why I can't help but agree quite heartily with someone who says 'If I had a religion, I would be a Carl Saganian.' "If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another." If there is only one worldly diktat we must abide by with unquestioning faith, let it be this one.
    more
  • Kalliope
    January 1, 1970
    The Star system in GR is absolutely inadequate for rating this book. Gosh, I should not use the term ‘absolutely’ for something in which everything orbits around relativity.Anyway, I think something like this would give a better idea of my opinion about this book: my rating is an universe of zillions to the power of zillions of stars, …and expanding. My rating:What a brilliant read this has been. I have read it very slowly; one chapter a week. But what are thirteen weeks in relation to cosmic ti The Star system in GR is absolutely inadequate for rating this book. Gosh, I should not use the term ‘absolutely’ for something in which everything orbits around relativity.Anyway, I think something like this would give a better idea of my opinion about this book: my rating is an universe of zillions to the power of zillions of stars, …and expanding. My rating:What a brilliant read this has been. I have read it very slowly; one chapter a week. But what are thirteen weeks in relation to cosmic time? I have also read it in parallel to watching the DVD programs. What a treat this has been to have Carl Sagan in the little and measurable and limited space of my living room, bringing home and explaining to me, the immensity of all that space and dust and gas and light and fire and immeasurable time.Sagan’s mind is truly cosmic, in scope and in outlook. We accompany him as he pulls together history, with the pre-Socratic, the Alexandrians, Leonardo, Kepler and Tycho Brahe, Huygens, Einstein, with the basics of biology and chemistry and physics and astronomy. I particularly liked his explanation of the effects of Relativity on the light spectrum on board of an Italian Vespa, in a true Pasolini manner. I smiled at the candid StarTreckish nave from which we travel through his half-observed-half-fictional universe. I gasped to see he was using a touch screen to navigate his craft, realizing this would have seemed so fancy back in the early 1980s when Sagan’s program and book were all the rage, and which for us is now so irritatingly ubiquitous.I loved his survey of the Lives of Stars and his anecdote of his first trip to the library as a kid, when upon his request for a book on stars the Librarian gave him a book on Hollywood actors and actresses. Startling are also the simulations in the film version of the encounter of various objects and any given galaxy. Unforgettable.The contents are primarily a laudable exposition of what he calls the language of the universe--the language of science--, which he deciphers as if he were handling a Rosetta stone of multiple dimensions. But a running argument, and I suspect one motivation behind this wondrous book and program, is his deeply human and humane quest to undo our main enemies: superstition and violence.Produced during the Cold War, the book seems a mission launched to make us aware of our origins and our circumstances and increase our awareness of the possibilities of self-destruction. His work is an epic from a savior with a cosmic projection.But the most precious impression I have gathered in this reading is a reminder of how infinitesimally small I am and the inconsequence of my being. But also how, in spite of my own insignificance, how lucky I am to be one more specimen of this wondrous phenomenon of evolution through which a conscience is formed in a strange and extraordinary combination of a few natural elements.Rather than depressing, I have found this thought heartening. A reminder that I have to enjoy it while it lasts.Which means to keep reading books and bask in the knowledge transmitted to me through this wonderful medium, invented by us. Sagan after all begins and ends his account with the Alexandrian Library.He understood.
    more
  • Duane
    January 1, 1970
    I saw the TV series years before I read the book. I'm glad I did; I was able to project the image and voice of Carl Sagan into the words on the page. If there is a better science related, non-fiction book out there, please, someone point it out to me.Revised Oct. 2017.
    more
  • Daniella
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure what I could possibly say about Cosmos that hasn't already been said by countless others in the 28 years since its publication, and likely in a far more intelligent and eloquent way than I ever could. But upon recently reading this book for the first time (which may seem a bit belated, but I am, after all, only 23) it instantly became one of my favorites, a status not easily attained by any book, and so I feel compelled to say something, to expound upon its many virtues and why it h I'm not sure what I could possibly say about Cosmos that hasn't already been said by countless others in the 28 years since its publication, and likely in a far more intelligent and eloquent way than I ever could. But upon recently reading this book for the first time (which may seem a bit belated, but I am, after all, only 23) it instantly became one of my favorites, a status not easily attained by any book, and so I feel compelled to say something, to expound upon its many virtues and why it has endeared itself to me so completely."One glance at [a book:] and you hear the voice of another person--perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time."Perhaps prophetically, this is exactly the effect the late great Dr. Sagan acheived with this book. Through the power and fluid elegance of his prose, while reading Cosmos I could almost hear that familiar and somehow majestic voice (which in large part, I believe, made the PBS miniseries of the same name so wholly entrancing), as if the two of us were old friends having a leisurely, albeit profoundly intellectual, chat over coffee. Not exactly what one might expect from a book largely concerned with science, but this is just one of many qualities that makes it not only endearing to the reader, but also--and perhaps more importantly--accessible, making even the smattering of complex equations seem casual and undaunting.Aside from the beauty of its prose, which is at times poetic in its depth and its eloquence, Cosmos is also wholly engaging and fascinating in the depth and scope of its subects. Sagan succinctly and expertly covers everything from the birth of stars to the birth of science, the origins of life on Earth to the possibility of life on other planets, and our far distant and recent (in the grand cosmic scheme of things) past to the possibilities for our distant future. And yes, because science is constantly evolving and, as Dr. Sagan states, self-correcting, some of the information and theories covered may now be outdated, but I still believe that Cosmos is well worth reading. Not only can it serve as a friendly, accessible, and engrossing jumping-off point for we common folk who are interested in delving deeper into science but may feel a bit intimidated, it is also, if nothing else, worth reading for the beautifully poignant and evocative insights and the oft-philosophical tidbits contained therein."We are the local embodiment of the Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars...."My only complaints about Cosmos are these: the last two or three chapters lag just a bit, incorporating several topics that seem extraneous and unnecessary, and somewhat lose the smooth, easy flow present throughout the rest of the book; and though I feel that, in the current world political climate, the section discussing nuclear arms is still as relevant today as then, I can't help but think that anybody above the age of 12 and possessing a fully-functioning cerebral cortex is already aware of the potential consequences of nuclear war (gamma burst, radiation poisoning, junk in the atmosphere, nuclear winter, death, doom, destruction, we get it already). However, I can concede on this last point that, at the time of publication, the aftermath of a full-scale nuclear war was perhaps still a pretty hot topic. And in the grand scheme, these negative points make up only a negligible fraction of this otherwise fantastic book, and do not in anyway detract from its intrinsic value or from its overall enjoyability.All in all, Cosmos is a thoroughly enthralling read that takes you on a breath-taking journey from the inception of the Universe to futures that may never be, and allows us to ponder--when considering our own epic journey from starstuff to "assemblages of a billion billion billion atoms contemplating the evolution of atoms"--what it truly means to be human and what our place, our purpose, is in the vast expanse of "this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky".
    more
  • Manuel Antão
    January 1, 1970
    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Flexible Belts: "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan(Original Review, 1980-11-17)A lot of talk has been going on about the flaws in Carl Sagan's COSMOS series. These flaws center on either Sagan's unusual speaking style and acting(?) abilities, or the show's contents. I certainly agree that he looks stupid when displaying the "awed" look; however, the complaints about the content of his shows are not justified. Yes, he is short on reasons and long o If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Flexible Belts: "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan(Original Review, 1980-11-17)A lot of talk has been going on about the flaws in Carl Sagan's COSMOS series. These flaws center on either Sagan's unusual speaking style and acting(?) abilities, or the show's contents. I certainly agree that he looks stupid when displaying the "awed" look; however, the complaints about the content of his shows are not justified. Yes, he is short on reasons and long on visual effects, and, yes, he talks as if the viewer did not know the obvious. What we are all forgetting is this: the average person doesn't know what we would consider "obvious". We should realize that Carl Sagan has his work cut out for him making science digestible for the average person.
    more
  • rahul
    January 1, 1970
    A five stars to this book. Stars borrowed from skies that I witnessed when I was eight or maybe ten and would wake up early at pre-dawn, because that was the best time for star gazing after all. To read Mr.Sagan, the words so simple describing the Universe so complex. To read a small passage and follow it up with a sleep filled with dreams of all those stars dying and being born every passing moment.To recall, days of childish innocence gazing towards the infinite.Gazing in anticipation of recog A five stars to this book. Stars borrowed from skies that I witnessed when I was eight or maybe ten and would wake up early at pre-dawn, because that was the best time for star gazing after all. To read Mr.Sagan, the words so simple describing the Universe so complex. To read a small passage and follow it up with a sleep filled with dreams of all those stars dying and being born every passing moment.To recall, days of childish innocence gazing towards the infinite.Gazing in anticipation of recognizing a constellation or an anticipated meteor shower.To pause while reading and reflect, wonder. To attempt understanding things with closed eyes.To hear back from the infinite, after all these many years. Because thoughts might after all travel through vacuum.To think what has been thought centuries ago, but not by you yet.To take a possibility, and create countless possibilities.To be curious, to question. To look at things with not just your eyes. To be looked back from an infinite distance, with your own eyes.To the journeys we could take each night, only if we gave ourselves the chance to.To Pause.To realize that this moment ephemeral as it is, and only one among a multiple of possible moments,still IS.
    more
  • Z
    January 1, 1970
    Let's put it simply. Cosmos is required reading for everyone who lives on this planet. It will give you a sense of perspective that nothing else can -- no lofty ideology, no omniscient religion, no inspiring quotations can explain things quite as clearly as Carl Sagan's treatise on science, reality, and the nature of things in this universe. Mind-bending and dazzling, and best of all, uncluttered by confusing scientific terminology. A book worthy of all the positive superlatives I can think of b Let's put it simply. Cosmos is required reading for everyone who lives on this planet. It will give you a sense of perspective that nothing else can -- no lofty ideology, no omniscient religion, no inspiring quotations can explain things quite as clearly as Carl Sagan's treatise on science, reality, and the nature of things in this universe. Mind-bending and dazzling, and best of all, uncluttered by confusing scientific terminology. A book worthy of all the positive superlatives I can think of bestowing on it.We have held the peculiar notion that a person or society that is a little different from us, whoever we are, is somehow strange or bizarre, to be distrusted or loathed. Think of the negative connotations of words like alien or outlandish. And yet the monuments and cultures of each of our civilisations merely represent different ways of being human. An extraterrestrial visitor, looking at the differences among human beings and their societies, would find those differences trivial compared to the similarities. The Cosmos may be densey populated with intelligent beings. But the Darwinian lesson is clear: There will be no humans elsewhere. Only here. Only on this small planet. We are a rare as well as an endangered species. Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.- Carl Sagan, Cosmos
    more
  • TS Chan
    January 1, 1970
    Carl Sagan was a good writer. For a scientist, his prose had a literary style that is enjoyable to read, and he injected a sense of philosophy into his passionate account of the origins and marvels of the cosmos. I do find that the delivery was quite heavy-handed in trying to instill that sense of awe and wonder into the reader. What made it even more so was the narrator whose intonation carries a quality of breathless resonance. The arrangement of the subject matter also seemed a bit haphazard Carl Sagan was a good writer. For a scientist, his prose had a literary style that is enjoyable to read, and he injected a sense of philosophy into his passionate account of the origins and marvels of the cosmos. I do find that the delivery was quite heavy-handed in trying to instill that sense of awe and wonder into the reader. What made it even more so was the narrator whose intonation carries a quality of breathless resonance. The arrangement of the subject matter also seemed a bit haphazard in my view. I couldn't help comparing this book to a favourite of mine - A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson which was organised, concise, informative, and very entertaining. Regardless, Cosmos is still a good primer to read for those who are interested in learning more about the universe and our world before venturing into more recent writings from the likes of Stephen Hawkings (may he rest in peace) and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
    more
  • Joseph
    January 1, 1970
    Science is changing the way we see the universe at a rapid pace. Black holes, gravity waves, Higgs boson, and dark matter were (mathematical) theories a generation ago. Today they are reality. Popular science television shows can teach the public about quantum theory but anything over ten years old is pretty much out of date. How can a publication on general science over thirty-five years out of date be relevant in the world today? It depends on who and how the story is told. Carl Sagan possesse Science is changing the way we see the universe at a rapid pace. Black holes, gravity waves, Higgs boson, and dark matter were (mathematical) theories a generation ago. Today they are reality. Popular science television shows can teach the public about quantum theory but anything over ten years old is pretty much out of date. How can a publication on general science over thirty-five years out of date be relevant in the world today? It depends on who and how the story is told. Carl Sagan possessed a quality that that was very inclusive. He did not speak down to people or try to show how much smarter he is (unlike another “cosmos” guy) than the general public. He spoke with a sage-like wisdom and in a way that Buddhist monk would speak, but without the riddles -- Here is what I have and I wish to share it with you. Sagan foremost was human and looked at things in a very human way. The story of science, our understanding of the cosmos, is, of course, our view as humanity. Cosmos covers the beginning of the universe, life on earth, the rise of man, and what man has accomplished. The Library at Alexandria was an ancient high point. It’s destruction and the murder of Hypatia a low point. Knowledge was willingly destroyed. Mankind rose and fought discovering science. Man excelled in launching Voyager space probes but failed in the nuclear build up of the Cold War which was still in full force while this book was being written. There is a lament over what could be done if so much wasn’t invested in destruction. Cosmos remains as interesting relevant after thirty-five years and will likely remain relevant in another thirty-five. Cosmos remains a book about science and a book about mankind and his quest for knowledge as well the suppression of knowledge. But, there is hope. As Sagan said: “The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we've learned most of what we know. Recently, we've waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”Audiobook read by LaVar Burton (Star Trek TNG and the Reading Rainbow)Introductions by (and read by) Ann Druyan and Neil deGrasse Tyson
    more
  • Bettie☯
    January 1, 1970
    Re-visit 2016:1: 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' attempt to calculate the circum Re-visit 2016:1: 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' attempt to calculate 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. 2: 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 the theory 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--Tertiary extinction event)This episode is worth 6* just on its ownHeaven and Hell: 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. 1908 Siberia Tunguska5: 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.6: Traveller's Tales: 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.Definitely need an up-to-date version with all that has been discovered since this was published in 1980
    more
  • Abubakar Mehdi
    January 1, 1970
    “ The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us - there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries. ”With these lines, we hop on Sagan’s ‘ship of imagination’ to visit distant worlds of Quasars, Pulsars, Black holes and Galaxies that are billions of light years away from us. A peak into the Cosmos. Sagan is a p “ The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us - there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries. ”With these lines, we hop on Sagan’s ‘ship of imagination’ to visit distant worlds of Quasars, Pulsars, Black holes and Galaxies that are billions of light years away from us. A peak into the Cosmos. Sagan is a poet-scientist, he uses beautiful metaphors and aphorisms that are never too far from what an ordinary person can grasp. The style is lucid. The knowledge ranges from Mathematics to history, from ancient Greece to NASA. Building on the works of geniuses who introduced us to this fascinating, mind boggling universe of ours.After giving us a general idea of our ‘cosmic address’, Sagan moves on to Darwin and his discovery of Natural Selection as the engine of Evolution. This has to be one of the finest explanations of Darwinian Natural Selection, where Sagan uses the extra-ordinary example Heike crabs, to demonstrate the strange but beautiful ways in which ‘survival of the fittest’ is manifested. But he doesn’t keep us here for long. After giving the best possible ‘lecture’ on Evolution, he takes us further to see the harmony of the worlds. the planets and how the stars follow fixed patterns that can be mathematically explained; a most singular achievement of humans to have discovered the language of the Nature. Kepler gave us the laws of planetary motion. Laws that not just explained the elliptical orbit of Earth, but inspired a generation of mathematicians and physicists to inquire further into the nature and behaviour of the heavenly bodies. A world so strange, complex and inaccessible has been made fascinating, understandable and rather accessible by the works of men and women who devoted their lives to Science and Cosmos. A world that is far more rich and awe-inspiring than the meagre and myth-ridden fairytales that we content ourselves with. We settle for too little. As the book progresses, Sagan’s obsession with extra-terrestrial life becomes more and more apparent. He admits that as a child, he spent hours contemplating about the possibility of intelligent life on other planets. Although our search for intelligent life has been a failure (even on Earth), Sagan aspires to make contact with the dwellers of distant worlds. The possibility of life elsewhere, is not too ‘fantastic’ altogether. As we observe the immensity of the observable universe, we can be more than certain that life does exist elsewhere but we don’t know what it will be like. Space travel and Alien Contact are not stuff of science fiction anymore but a possibility in waiting. The concluding chapters touch on two matters of colossal significance, namely Nuclear Weapons and Climate Change. These two man-made disasters are a ticking time bomb that can obliterate our species, and we have done precious little to stop them. We are destroying this planet, poisoning our oceans and destroying Specie after specie for centuries now. Man is without a doubt the most deadly predator in the history of Earth Life. And now we are on the path to self-annihilation. And this book is a wakeup call. A world ridden with ignorance and greed, will need to forego the idiotic bliss of being certain about everything. We don’t need good answers to everything, what we need instead are good questions. A good question is often times more educating than its answer. How can we love this world if we are awaiting an apocalypse, how can we love our environment and its safe keepers, the plants and the animals, without recognising that they are our distant cousins. Life, wherever it exists on this planet, is our kin. And we are bullying, butchering and asphyxiating it everywhere. What a shame !This is the kind of book that we must read and re-read. A book we must gift our children on their 12th birthdays. If you haven’t read it yet and you are over 12, do your self a favour and read it.Because Carl Sagan does more than just educate you about the wonders of Science and the Universe; he makes you fall in love with it.
    more
  • Lewis Weinstein
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful perspectives, marvelous photos and drawings, beautifully written ... considers the hugeness of space and the tiniest atom, all connected ... somehow ... Cosmos has stood the test of time (yes, that's a pun) ... I have read several books on this topic in preparation for a course at Oxford on Cosmology ... this is the best
    more
  • Deb
    January 1, 1970
    This book was my bible when I was an enemy of God. As a stubbornly devout atheist, this was the book I turned to for justification of my proud and arrogant rejection of my Creator. Instead of reading this pile of conjecture, I recommend reading the Holy Bible (then get on your knees and repent before the holy God who gave you life and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for your lawlessness and sin). :-)
    more
  • Speranza
    January 1, 1970
    As a child, I was fascinated and mesmerised by our world. It looked so huge, so full of wonders. Еverything was a source of marvel and inspiration. The world, the Earth, waited to be discovered and I had a long life ahead of me to do that. Then, in teenage years, I already knew all there was to know about life, people, the Earth and the Universe. Nobody could tell me any better. The new source of wonder had become love – falling in love, finding the purpose in another human being, the complete m As a child, I was fascinated and mesmerised by our world. It looked so huge, so full of wonders. Еverything was a source of marvel and inspiration. The world, the Earth, waited to be discovered and I had a long life ahead of me to do that. Then, in teenage years, I already knew all there was to know about life, people, the Earth and the Universe. Nobody could tell me any better. The new source of wonder had become love – falling in love, finding the purpose in another human being, the complete merging of body and soul.Once I entered the world of adults, I realised that I knew nothing. I strived for a higher purpose which, it turned out, was extremely hard to find in between a daily job that gives you no thrill, the same four walls you hide behind every night, and the usual faces that say the same words day in day out. The mundanity and routine that sustain a human life make it really hard to notice this same life. Wine and poetry help the cause to some extent, but they pull one out of Earth’s gravity for very short instances only.I have been at a crossroads lately, which shattered the illusive security of existence and made me anxious, itching with questions, sleepless, feeling an urge I couldn’t define. And then I started to seek answers, cosmic answers.Suddenly, it feels like a meteorite has hit my little planet. I read with eyes wide-open, with the naïveté of a toddler, with a remarkable ignorance and with an insatiable thirst to learn more. I feel like a child again! I feel in love again! I feel my senses being heightened and my pulse rushing. Carl Sagan made me feel like a scientist. For I have made a wonderful discovery - the nutrient of my little earthly life is curiosity – no step for the Cosmos, one giant leap for the cosmic speck of dust that I am.I could talk for hours about how beautiful and captivating I found Cosmos to be. It made me crave knowledge of the unknown. It made my underdeveloped imagination burst with colourful visions. It made my stunted mind race. I savoured every word, embraced every idea. I guess for someone who has read a lot on the subject I look like a newly hatched chicken, struggling to make its first steps. I have been intimidated by physics and chemistry all my life and now it is time to catch up.My gut tells me that Sagan is not right in completely rejecting astrology, the occult or religion, but I choose to trust him because he has managed to put into simple words concepts that have scared away so many people for so long. His narrative voice is the perfect combination of a bright mind and humility. It is subtle and guiding, not patronizing. It is human and it is humane – it makes you believe you can understand and dream beyond the boundaries of your own mind.Sagan was a great scientist, but I think his greatest achievement is that he made science accessible and interesting to his fellow human beings. His venture to bring the Cosmos closer to humans might eventually pay off in helping bring humans closer to the Cosmos. There is so much more I want to say, but I don’t have words for all thoughts that Cosmos provoked in me. I feel ashamed that my review of this monumental work revolves around my little nichtigkeit, but, after all, even the biggest galaxies are made of the smallest particles.
    more
  • Rob
    January 1, 1970
    A gorgeous book in every possible way. From the lush illustration and clever diagrams clear through to Sagan's lyrical and at times whimsical narrative, this is the science book for non-scientists. (And if you are a scientist, may this be a lesson in how to tell your story.) Sagan makes the astronomy and the math and the mind-boggling complexity of the universe not only comprehensible but palatable. He wraps up our history as a species into the history of the universe (such that we can even know A gorgeous book in every possible way. From the lush illustration and clever diagrams clear through to Sagan's lyrical and at times whimsical narrative, this is the science book for non-scientists. (And if you are a scientist, may this be a lesson in how to tell your story.) Sagan makes the astronomy and the math and the mind-boggling complexity of the universe not only comprehensible but palatable. He wraps up our history as a species into the history of the universe (such that we can even know it).As a kid, I adored this book for the color plates. I would flip the pages in my Dad's copy over and over and over again. Down on the floor, on the couch -- anywhere. Probably every day from ages four through seventeen. I didn't go on to be an astronomer. Hell, I never took a physics class and I nearly failed more than one math class (as I recall) but this book...Reading it cover-to-cover for the first time as an adult, I was struck by many things. The book is dense but Sagan paces it well, makes you hungry for every anecdote about Kepler or Pythagoras, thirsty for the decimal-laden scientific notation.And then there was the moment that blew my mind; tucked away in a footnote about telescopic "snapshots" of galaxies:...The near side of a galaxy is tens of thousands of light-years closer to us than the far side; thus we see the front as it was tens of thousands of years before the back. But typical events in galactic dynamics occupy tens of millions of years, so the error in thinking of an image of a galaxy as frozen in one moment of time is small.!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
    more
  • Tony
    January 1, 1970
    The best book ever written.A masterful work encompassing the whole of human existence and the universe, with a focus on science.Sagan discusses - evolution, - Kepler, astrology and acceptance of truth in spite of what outcome is desired,- Venus and Mars, including the made-up belief of life on Mars a century ago,- the Voyager spacecrafts' Grand Tour of the Outer Planets (a rare alignment),- ancient Greek scientists,- Relativity,- atoms, elements, and how star make them,- Creation Myths, incl Hin The best book ever written.A masterful work encompassing the whole of human existence and the universe, with a focus on science.Sagan discusses - evolution, - Kepler, astrology and acceptance of truth in spite of what outcome is desired,- Venus and Mars, including the made-up belief of life on Mars a century ago,- the Voyager spacecrafts' Grand Tour of the Outer Planets (a rare alignment),- ancient Greek scientists,- Relativity,- atoms, elements, and how star make them,- Creation Myths, incl Hindu ones that are longer than the current discovered age of the Universe,- genes, DNA, the brain, and books: the progression of how and how much information we can store and access,- SETI, and Jean-François Champollion's translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs,- the Library of Alexandria.
    more
  • Melissa Palumbos
    January 1, 1970
    One of the greatest books on understanding the universe and our place in it. Moving and mesmerizing. No book has been more effective in making me appreciate existence.
  • Benjamin
    January 1, 1970
    This is the closest I have ever been to love.This book is not only a huge source of knowledge for those looking forward to getting enthralled into the science of cosmos, but also one that I know has a special meaning for some people out there. Both of the before mentioned apply to me, but why do I say it has a special meaning? Well, as simple as it may sound, this book was what took me to where I am right now. There has always been magic for me. As a kid, I always believed in everything everyone This is the closest I have ever been to love.This book is not only a huge source of knowledge for those looking forward to getting enthralled into the science of cosmos, but also one that I know has a special meaning for some people out there. Both of the before mentioned apply to me, but why do I say it has a special meaning? Well, as simple as it may sound, this book was what took me to where I am right now. There has always been magic for me. As a kid, I always believed in everything everyone else seemed to despise and so it was my faith that my parents even got to think that I was crazy.First, there were these magical creatures: faeries, mermaids, goblins, wizards, etc. Then something even better and more magical came to my life: science. Now you may be thinking, okay, but science is a wide subject, what part of science? And I will answer you: why do I have to choose from it when I can learn from all of it? That’s something taught me. Science is connected to everything in ways that some of us have never imagined. If we talk about science, we must think of it as the most important discovery in the history of humanity, of art, religion, music, and beauty in its fullest expression. One can’t live without the other, they are the things that give form and purpose to our existence. Since I find myself unfit to give a decent critic to the book (not because I lack knowledge but for the role, it played and keeps playing in my life), I’m going to invite you to think a little bit.Imagine yourself as a 6-year old kid. You are in the countryside, separated from any sound or human contact, and the only light is the one that comes from the starts you are currently watching. You feel happy about your loneliness. You don’t know anything about the matter and yet you have a feeling that there’s some magic in the sky, some kind of spell written in it. Suddenly the stars are passing by, leaving a blur of light on their tray and you wonder how some stars can move and fall while others keep doing their job, brightening everything around you. You run to the house at the other side of the camp, and turn to see the stars again, they are still there, the same stars every day, you are scared because you don’t understand and that makes you feel uneasy. You go to sleep. Next morning you wake up and go directly to the nearest library, you ask for books of stars, but the librarian tells you she has none and instead she gives you a physics, religion and art books, what a disappointment you think. You see the pictures and read as much as you can, it isn’t an easy task, though, you have barely learned to read. The hours passed by, and by the end of the day, you realized how much you have learned, not only about physics and stars but also about religion, math, and arts. It’s then when you as a 6-years old kid find the most valuable treasure when you were only looking to understand the stars. As I said before, there is no way of reviewing this book correctly.
    more
  • Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
    January 1, 1970
    I wish I had LOVED this book as Carl Sagan is an icon. It was entertaining, if you ignore the fact that it is VERY dated (I mean, 40+ years dated), which is not its fault. However, I much prefer A Short History of Nearly Everything for a review of the same information.
    more
  • Pawan Mishra
    January 1, 1970
    It has always made me very curious how science touches many other seemingly different subjects of history, philosophy, and religion. This book is really very impressive. A story of 15 billion years of the cosmos compressed in this relatively smaller book! Easy to read and understand, Carl Sagan's Cosmos draws the reader into a world so vivid and realistic that it's hard not to be mesmerized throughout while reading this book.
    more
  • ade_reads
    January 1, 1970
    Humans... How little we are. How little we know.Finally I finished this book last night at about 23:00. This is one of the best popular scientific books that I have read. This book is well written, reads like a mystery novel and is a great source of interesting information. Scientific information is explained in "simple reader" language.The focus in this book is on astronomy : how big is our universe, how old it is, how it "works", etc. Sagan pays a lot of attention to stars and galaxies, but al Humans... How little we are. How little we know.Finally I finished this book last night at about 23:00. This is one of the best popular scientific books that I have read. This book is well written, reads like a mystery novel and is a great source of interesting information. Scientific information is explained in "simple reader" language.The focus in this book is on astronomy : how big is our universe, how old it is, how it "works", etc. Sagan pays a lot of attention to stars and galaxies, but also presents the more advanced topics of black holes and pulsars. There are also occasional earthly detours - evolution of life on earth, ancient greeks, the library of Alexandria, voyages of explorers, etc. The book also tries to bring up some philosophical questions, especially in relation to the possibility of other civilizations in the cosmos, and how a contact between us and them would happen.Highly recommendation!=================== "The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredient across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literaly stardust." - Neil deGrasse Tyson
    more
  • رحمان
    January 1, 1970
    In the beginning there was a bang, and it was big. Stupendous. The universe as we know it, began. Time itself started to tick and tock. Space was appearing seemingly out of nothingness, as it continues to do so still. Intense heat and energy were produced. And from them matter coalesced. And so stars formed. And from stars everything else sprang into existence: more stars, galaxies, the glorious milky way, our spectacular sun, our caring earth, our gorgeous moon shortly thereafter, and finally, In the beginning there was a bang, and it was big. Stupendous. The universe as we know it, began. Time itself started to tick and tock. Space was appearing seemingly out of nothingness, as it continues to do so still. Intense heat and energy were produced. And from them matter coalesced. And so stars formed. And from stars everything else sprang into existence: more stars, galaxies, the glorious milky way, our spectacular sun, our caring earth, our gorgeous moon shortly thereafter, and finally, precious, precious life. There are more galaxies in the universe than all of the humans that have ever lived. There are more stars than all of the grains of sand covering earth's golden beaches. A supernova happening 12 light years away from us would completely eradicate our existence. An asteroid 100 km wide hitting our planet would wipe us out like a worm under a boot. We live on a fragile mote of dust, drifting in an incomprehensibly vast void, surrounded by infinite worlds. We're thoroughly and utterly insignificant. Yet, it seems that many of us are unable to grasp that.
    more
  • Shahad takleef
    January 1, 1970
    The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we've learned most of what we know. Recently, we've waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from.We long to returnand we can .because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of starstuff i don't think i'll ever give 5 stars more wholeheartedly as i am doing now ..5 shimmering , eye-blindingly shinning stars , the brightest suns GR has in The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we've learned most of what we know. Recently, we've waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from.We long to returnand we can .because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of starstuff i don't think i'll ever give 5 stars more wholeheartedly as i am doing now ..5 shimmering , eye-blindingly shinning stars , the brightest suns GR has in its this little galaxy should be owned by this book , cosmos .its really shocking that only days ago i didnt know who carl sagan is . The name may have seemed a bit familiar , but nothing more Now , this name feels too meaningful , i'd remember this man's words , his deep voice discussing the formations of the stars and their decay and deaths , i'd surly remember the passion in his eyes in the parallel Cosmos TV show , the way he pronounces Billions and Billions stressing on the B or the way he says "we are made of starstuff" with too much longing . I LOVED THIS BOOK it maybe mainstream and often said but i dont know how to phrase what i feel about it any other way , seems its beyond my ability of putting things into coherent sentences .it was Beautiful in every mean , i wish now that i have saved every beautiful i've ever used , ever said , so that when i call this peace of heaven beautiful you would get what i am saying ..quoting from the same book , cosmos is : "visually and musically stunning, and to engage the heart as well as the mind" Carl Sagan , an astronomer, a cosmologist and a writer. a brilliant man . the way he uses words , it doesnt feel decorated , these words are written too honestly , the passions and ambitions of a man ,once a child inlove with science-fiction as we all are , scriped in papers .I feel too ashamed that i am 22 years living in this world and its only now that i read this book , Cosmos wasn't only about astronomy , but philosophy , biology and a big deal of history all written very beautifully you will enjoy every bit , i started to love radio waves , Phythagorean laws and things of this sort that i may have considered dry and lifeless in my school years . its hard to believe that this is written in the eighties of the last century , may be so much had changed , maybe some stuff here and there are not up to date but its is still a big source of inspiration . The question about extraterrestial life remains a puzzle , but exploring the problem is a fascinating journey in itself .I am not an expert on natural science , a mere starter , but it was easy for me to read , so i think carl sagan's books are gems of some sort , they are the bridge between scientists and common people , they are written for us , we who love the stars and crave to understand them yet we are no scientists or experts our selves . and generally expertise in the subject matter is not required to enjoy it , as the love of it shall demonstrates. I am officaily recommending this book for every human being , its a thing every soul should read .i wish i can buy enough copies for the human race and shove them down their doors . "Finally, at the end of all our wanderings, we return to our tiny, fragile, blue-white world, lost in a cosmic ocean vast beyond our most courageous imaginings. It is a world among an immensity of others. It may be significant only for us. The Earth is our home, our parent. Our kind of life arose and evolved here. The human species is coming of age here. It is on this world that we developed our passion for exploring the Cosmos, and it is here that we are, in some pain and with no guarantees, working out our destiny ""There will be no humans elsewhere. Only here. Only on this small planet. We are a rare as well as an endangered species. Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another" Warning ! : dont you ever miss meeting the deep voice narrating to you the story of the cosmos , watch the TV show , meet carl sagan , I'll put links for the 13 episodes downwards .Advice : read the book with some cosmic music , it will feel magical and out of the world .The TV show episodes:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ9mz...i've read it as an ebook copy and i think half the book is marked blue , its just too charming you would want to remember every word , now i have my pockets full of fascinating quotes . and these are some i couldn't resist including in the review :* They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends on how well we know this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky*We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever*Those explorations required skepticism and imagination both. Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere. Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations*The Earth is a place. It is by no means the only place. It is not even a typical place. No planet or star or galaxy can be typical, because the Cosmos is mostly empty. The only typical place is within the vast, cold, universal vacuum, the everlasting night of intergalactic space, a place so strange and desolate that, by comparison, planets and stars and galaxies seem achingly rare and lovely. If we were randomly inserted into the Cosmos, the chance that we would find ourselves on or near a planet would be less than one in a billion trillion trillion* (1033, a one followed by 33 zeroes). In everyday life such odds are called compelling. Worlds are precious*Each star system is an island in space, quarantined from its neighbors by the light- years. I can imagine creatures evolving into glimmerings of knowledge on innumerable worlds, every one of them assuming at first their puny planet and paltry few suns to be all that is. We grow up in isolation. Only slowly do we teach ourselves the Cosmos*Welcome to the planet Earth - a place of blue nitrogen skies, oceans of liquid water, cool forests and soft meadows, a world positively rippling with life. In the cosmic perspective it is, as I have said, poignantly beautiful and rare; but it is also, for the moment, unique*The study of the heavens brought Ptolemy a kind of ecstasy. ‘ Mortal as I am,’ he wrote, ‘ I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the Earth. . *With this symphony of voices man can play through the eternity of time in less than an hour, and can taste in small measure the delight of God, the Supreme Artist . . . I yield freely to the sacred frenzy . . . the die is cast, and I am writing the book - to be read either now or by posterity, it matters not. It can wait a century for a reader, as God Himself has waited 6,000 years for a witness*With searing heat, crushing pressures, noxious gases and everything suffused in an eerie, reddish glow, Venus seems less the goddess of love than the incarnation of hell*All that matters is the evidence, and the evidence is not yet in.*The Earth is a tiny and fragile world. It needs to be cherished*there are regularities in Nature that permit its secrets to be uncovered. Nature is not entirely unpredictable; there are rules even she must obey. This ordered and admirable character of the universe was called Cosmos*Traveling close to the speed of light is a kind of elixir of life. Because time slows down close to the speed of light, special relativity provides us with a means of going to the stars*A star is a phoenix, destined to rise for a time from its own ashes*Our passion for learning, evident in the behavior of every toddler, is the tool for our survival*Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insights and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all of our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species*The choice is stark and ironic. The same rocket boosters used to launch probes to the planets are poised to send nuclear warheads to the nations. The radioactive power sources on Viking and Voyager derive from the same technology that makes nuclear weapons. The radio and radar techniques employed to track and guide ballistic missiles and defend against attack are also used to monitor and command the spacecraft on the planets and to listen for signals from civilizations near other stars. If we use these technologies to destroy ourselves, we surely will venture no more to the planets and the stars. But the converse is also true. If we continue to the planets and the stars, our chauvinisms will be shaken further. We will gain a cosmic perspective. We will recognize that our explorations can be carried out only on behalf of all the people of the planet Earth
    more
  • Nərmin
    January 1, 1970
    It took me long to read it, but it was worth it. First thing that captivates me that despite being a nonfiction scientific book, Carl Sagan described the whole universe, explained the science in such a poetic and eloquent way that you would think he is a romantic poet! And the parts about his childhood and his enthusiasm for astronomy, for cosmos were the cutest and beautiful thing I have ever read. I saw myself, my passion for space in him, in his writings. And best part of this book was the in It took me long to read it, but it was worth it. First thing that captivates me that despite being a nonfiction scientific book, Carl Sagan described the whole universe, explained the science in such a poetic and eloquent way that you would think he is a romantic poet! And the parts about his childhood and his enthusiasm for astronomy, for cosmos were the cutest and beautiful thing I have ever read. I saw myself, my passion for space in him, in his writings. And best part of this book was the incredible ideas that can belong to a sci-fi writer! I even took notes from this ideas so maybe I can use them in my future writings. Carl Sagan became my favorite person in science))) And this book will be forever my favorite and I am sure I will read it again and again and also recommend it as a teacher)) And these are my favorite quotes:“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” “What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic."“we make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers”
    more
  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of those kind of books that comes along every few years that is so fantastic that you purposely drag out reading it in order to savor its awesomeness. It doesn't matter that it was written 25+ years ago, pre-Hubble telescope, before the fall of the USSR, etc. - Sagan's insight and wide-reaching scope are timeless.The last few chapters are so rich in thought-provoking information they are worth re-reading. Sagan would have never wanted his work to become the foundation of a religion, This is one of those kind of books that comes along every few years that is so fantastic that you purposely drag out reading it in order to savor its awesomeness. It doesn't matter that it was written 25+ years ago, pre-Hubble telescope, before the fall of the USSR, etc. - Sagan's insight and wide-reaching scope are timeless.The last few chapters are so rich in thought-provoking information they are worth re-reading. Sagan would have never wanted his work to become the foundation of a religion, but I can see why so many people refer to this as their "bible" and use it to help make sense out of a mad world and one's short time to inhabit it.
    more
  • May 舞
    January 1, 1970
    "For we are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring."T "For we are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring."Took me a while but was really worth it in the end!
    more
  • Ross Blocher
    January 1, 1970
    Cosmos operates at a massive scale worthy of its lofty title. Carl Sagan, in a companion compendium to his 13-part 1980 TV series of the same name, explains what we know about the universe and the progression of human thought about origins and the nature of reality. We zoom across frames of reference, from the actions of atoms and subatomic particles, to the molecules that store genetic information, to life on this planet, and beyond, to the structure of the universe. We learn about the various Cosmos operates at a massive scale worthy of its lofty title. Carl Sagan, in a companion compendium to his 13-part 1980 TV series of the same name, explains what we know about the universe and the progression of human thought about origins and the nature of reality. We zoom across frames of reference, from the actions of atoms and subatomic particles, to the molecules that store genetic information, to life on this planet, and beyond, to the structure of the universe. We learn about the various explorations of Mars, Venus, Io and Europa, and how we might travel to stars in the future. Along the way, Sagan explains not just what we know, but how we know it, and the fascinating stories of how that information was discovered: often by brilliance or persistence, and sometimes by historical accident or sheer luck. His enthusiasm is readily apparent: infectious and infused with a positive vision for the world and the future. One can only wish that more people on Earth shared Sagan's perspective.The book is punctuated with quotes from various myths of the universe's origins, which serve to remind us how important these questions have always been, but also how poorly equipped we are to access answers through intuition alone. It is the scientific method that has allowed us to cumulatively add new knowledge. He quotes Seneca, from the first century CE: "There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them... Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced. Our universe is a sorry little affair unless it has in it something for every age to investigate... Nature does not reveal her mysteries once and for all." Seneca saw clearly, and Sagan shares the stories of thinkers like Pythagoras, Aristarchus, Eratosthenes, Copernicus, Kepler, Huygens, Newton and Einstein and the various contributions they made to our modern understanding.I listened to the audio version, read by LeVar Burton, which is fantastic. I then picked up my physical copy to re-read the quotes and footnotes and see the included charts and illustrations. I highly recommend this for everyone... even if you have a strong understanding of science, it is worth it just to hear Sagan's brilliant and beautifully crafted explanations.
    more
  • Vusal Rasulzade
    January 1, 1970
    Highly recommended for people who have a little interest in astrophysics :)
  • Arun Divakar
    January 1, 1970
    When do we truly die ? The most logical answer would be to say that we die when the last breath escapes us and when our body and mind cease to function. But I tend to differ , death would be the loss of fascination and wonderment at the world around us. To wake up and see the sun rise everyday, to listen to birdsong in the mornings and see the blue sky above you, to feel the rain lashing at you and at times caressing you with its softness, the gentle breeze of the evenings, the feel of the sea w When do we truly die ? The most logical answer would be to say that we die when the last breath escapes us and when our body and mind cease to function. But I tend to differ , death would be the loss of fascination and wonderment at the world around us. To wake up and see the sun rise everyday, to listen to birdsong in the mornings and see the blue sky above you, to feel the rain lashing at you and at times caressing you with its softness, the gentle breeze of the evenings, the feel of the sea waves beneath your toes....this is life ! And when a time arrives during which none of this can be felt with the same sense of wanton bliss, I shall call it death. If ever there arises a world like Cormac McCarthy's The Road envisaged, I would go insane in a couple of days at the most ! This digression is very much in line with Carl Sagan's work for he speaks to us about our home : Earth. His voice is one of clear reason and indefatigable energy that I was filled with a sense of elation to say the least. You hold his hand and walk with him, a kid who for the first time stepped into a science class with eyes as wide and big as glass marbles ! Even when he tells you that you are nothing but an insignificant speck of dust in the order of things in the galaxy, he continues to say But look around you, isn't the Earth the most beautiful thing you ever saw ? Sagan conducts a virtual tour through the history of human civilizations, astronomy, the rise of science, interstellar and interplanetary travel and also ponders for a chapter on the perceived nature of extra terrestrial intelligence. What makes it marvelous reading ? One word : Simplicity ! He never writes a word that a common man needs to break his head over. Yes, there are graphical representations and equations galore in the book but even if you skip them and keep reading you will not be at a loss. Things are kept to the simplest way possible, a spade is called a spade and there are no unnecessary theatrics. I have not seen the TV series that inspired this book but am surely going to go in search of it ! Recommended for those with a love for nature and science.
    more
Write a review