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Carl Sagan’s Teachings Are Resurrected in a New Animated Interview

Acclaimed astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan left this Earthly plane 20 years ago this December, but his teachings continue to reach new audiences even today. The multi-hyphenate’s achievements may not be in the millions, billions, or trillions, but arguably greatest among them was Sagan’s ability to communicate complicated scientific principles to the common viewer. This new animated version of one of the late scientist’s interviews seeks to do the same while keeping the spirit and wonder of Sagan’s teachings very much alive.

The video, which comes courtesy of the PBS Digital Studios series Blank on Blank, is part of “The Experimenters,” a special series that uncovers interviews with “the icons of science, technology, and innovation.” This particular exchange occurred between broadcaster Studs Terkel and Carl Sagan in October of 1985, courtesy of the WFMT Studs Terkel Radio Archive. The interview came soon after Sagan and his wife Ann Dryuan wrote the sci-fi novel “Contact,” which was adapted into the Robert Zemeckis’ film a year after Sagan’s death. Interestingly, this interview features Sagan talking about the ways in which Hollywood gets extraterrestrial life wrong, even if Steven Spielberg did better than most.

carl-sagan-animation-blank-on-blank

Blank on Blank

Sagan also lays out the truly incomprehensible numbers of galaxies, stars, and planets at presently unfathomable distances from our own backwater burgh. While he doesn’t specifically delve into the Drake equation—a probability argument used to estimate the number of active and communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way—Sagan does express his belief that organic alien life is certainly possible, though we may be looking for their existence in the wrong places.

Of course, the conversation turned briefly to science and religion, even evoking Albert Einstein’s own comments on the often at-odds schools of thought. You can read the full transcript along with more images here, but I think the following quote sums up Sagan’s viewpoint nicely:

There is a tendency in both schools of thought to think that they have a corner on the truth. I mean, a way to look at it is the following: science and religion on some level are after the same thing.

Sadly, this beautifully animated and informative video is far too short, just like Sagan’s time on Earth. The silver lining, however, is that his teachings are still able to reach new audiences today and for years to come thanks to modern technology.

Images: Blank on Blank

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