Carl Sagan and the Tradition of Science

  • Sagan's Youth and the Progressive Promise of Space Carl Sagan was captivated by the cosmos from an early age. Reflecting on his youth, he identified a series of experiences that drew him to astronomy and a perspective on the social progress science and technology would bring to the future of humanity.
  • Liberal Arts Astronomer In the 1950s, the University of Chicago's undergraduate program pushed students to explore a breadth of knowledge. Students studied the history of science and literature by reading the classics. In this environment, a 16-year-old Carl Sagan flourished, taking courses in philosophy, science, and literature. Retrospectively he felt his broad education played an important role in making him into a well-rounded intellectual.
  • Sagan's Science Mentors Science is often thought of as a set of facts and right answers. This misconception can get in the way of understanding science as both a tradition and craft. Carl Sagan learned the craft and became a part of the tradition of science through his relationships with mentors. As a student and assistant, Sagan learned how to analyze and critique scientific arguments, how to...
  • Carl Sagan: Researcher, Educator, Communicator, Advocate and Activist The term "scientist" brings to mind a researcher in a lab coat scratching out equations on a chalkboard. In reality scientists play many other roles. Items from Carl Sagan's papers illustrate the many facets of his career. More broadly, these items speak to the range of roles scientists play in society.
  • Sagan's Thinking and Writing Process The Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan archive offers a rare opportunity to explore the writing and thinking process of one of the most prolific science writers of the 20th century.