Carl Sagan Day

Celebrate Carl Sagan Day on November 9!

Carl Sagan

Please join us this November as we honor Carl Sagan and celebrate the beauty and wonder of the cosmos he so eloquently described.

Carl Sagan was a Professor of Astronomy and Space Science and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University, but most of us know him as a Pulitzer Prize winning author and the creator of COSMOS. That Emmy and Peabody award-winning PBS television series transformed educational television when it first aired in 1980, but now, thirty years later, it’s gone on to affect the hearts and minds of over a billion people in sixty countries.

No other scientist has been able to reach and teach so many nonscientists in such a meaningful way, and that is why we celebrate Dr. Sagan, remember his work, and revel in the cosmos he helped us understand.

About Carl Sagan Day

The Center for Inquiry and especially our sister organization, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, had the honor of working with Dr. Sagan for twenty years, from 1976, when he was one of the founding members of CSI (then known as CSICOP), to 1996, when he published the last of his many articles in Skeptical Inquirer, just months before he died.

In 2009, CFI Ft. Lauderdale, FLASH and other groups created the first Carl Sagan Day celebration for his birthday, November 9th, and the idea quickly spread around the world. Now groups from Australia to Alaska are planning star parties, astronomy lectures, science fairs, teacher workshops and more to say thanks to Dr. Sagan and bring his work to the next generation of “star stuff.”

Celebrate with us!

Whether you’re a CFI branch or an independent skeptics group, an astronomy club or a science department, a researcher, a teacher, or a student, let us know how you’re planning to commemorate Carl Sagan Day! You can email your event information to CFI Outreach. Campus groups can get ideas for ways to celebrate on the CFI On Campus Carl Sagan Day Resource page.

Very special thanks to Ann Druyan and Druyan-Sagan Associates, Inc., for their gracious permission to use images and content from COSMOS, and for making it possible for so many CFI branches and affiliated campus groups to screen COSMOS for this special occasion. Learn more about Cosmos Studios at the Carl Sagan portal.

Who is Carl Sagan?

Carl Sagan at the VLACarl Sagan was the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He was a consultant and adviser to NASA since the 1950’s, briefed the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon, and was an experimenter on the Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo expeditions to the planets.

In addition to many other awards, Dr. Sagan was a recipient of the Public Welfare Medal, the highest award of the National Academy of Sciences, for “distinguished contributions in the application of science to the public welfare…Carl Sagan has been enormously successful in communicating the wonder and importance of science. His ability to capture the imagination of millions and to explain difficult concepts in understandable terms is a magnificent achievement.”

A Pulitzer Prize winner for the book The Dragons of Eden: Speculations of the Evolution of Human Intelligence, Dr. Sagan was the author of many bestsellers, including Demon-Haunted World and Cosmos, which became the bestselling science book ever published in English. He received twenty-two honorary degrees from American colleges and universities for his contributions to science, literature, education, and the preservation of the environment, and many awards for his work on the long-term consequences of nuclear war and reversing the nuclear arms race.

In their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan of their highest honor, the National Science Foundation declared that his “research transformed planetary science… his gifts to mankind were infinite.”

Learn more at the Carl Sagan portal.