Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Dr. Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

Shri Nathji and HH Priya Nath use to sit inside the big room and watch Dr. Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” on television which showed the littleness of the earth as compared to the vastness of the Universe. Carl Sagan also spoke of the dangers of a nuclear war and of the need of humanity to come closer together.
Shri Nathji greatly enjoys the film–and later says that Cark Sagan had a female-like face:
“Uski shakl auraton jaisee thhee!”
Shri Nathji says to Priya Nath:
“Write a letter to him sending him the blessings and best wishes of an old saint in India!”
Shri Nathji had long ago written a Verse in Urdu, which spoke of the beauty of the Universe:
Jee men ye hai ke hoon sanata saane pe nisaar

But ko bitthaake saamne yaade Khudaa karoon
It is in my heart to sacrifice myself for the Creator
To place the idol of the world before me and to remember God
Shri Natjji was fond of quoting Shri Babaji Maharaj who used to say in Persian:
 Haq jaane jahaan asto, jahaan jumla badan

Tauhed haminasto, deegar haa hamaa fan
God is the soul of the Universe, and the Universe His body,
This alone is Truth and the rest is all cant
Shri Nathji had often said:
“This Universe itself is a great miracle. What further miracle would you like to prove the existence of God?”
Indeed, Shri Nathji had said in later days that:
“Scientists were decorating the world of God!”
“The Ultimate Discovery of Science will be God!”
Shri Nathji saw no contradiction between Science and Religion as both were revealing the face of God.

Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He advocated scientifically skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).
Sagan is known for his popular science books and for the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which he narrated and co-wrote. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. Sagan wrote the novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name.
He attended the University of Chicago, where he participated in the Ryerson Astronomical Society,[10] received a bachelor of arts in self-proclaimed "nothing" with general and special honors in 1954, a bachelor of science in physics in 1955, and a master of science in physics in 1956 before earning a PhD in astronomy and astrophysics in 1960. During his time as an honors program undergraduate, Sagan worked in the laboratory of the geneticist H. J. Muller and wrote a thesis on the origins of life with physical chemist H. C. Urey. He used the summer months of his graduate studies to work with planetary scientist Gerard Kuiper (thesis advisor), physicist George Gamow, and chemist Melvin Calvin. From 1960 to 1962 Sagan was a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. From 1962 to 1968, he worked at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At the same time, he worked with geneticist Joshua Lederberg.
 Sagan lectured and did research at Harvard University until 1968, when he moved to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York after being denied tenure at Harvard. He became a full Professor at Cornell in 1971, and he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies there. From 1972 to 1981, Sagan was the Associate Director of the Center for Radio Physics and Space Research at Cornell.
 Sagan was associated with the U.S. space program from its inception. From the 1950s onward, he worked as an advisor to NASA, where one of his duties included briefing the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon. Sagan contributed to many of the robotic spacecraft missions that explored the solar system, arranging experiments on many of the expeditions. He conceived the idea of adding an unalterable and universal message on spacecraft destined to leave the solar system that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find it.
Sagan's contributions were central to the discovery of the high surface temperatures of the planet Venus. Sagan was among the first to hypothesize that Saturn's moon Titan might possess oceans of liquid compounds on its surface and that Jupiter's moon Europa might possess subsurface oceans of water. This would make Europa potentially habitable
He further contributed insights regarding the atmospheres of Venus and Jupiter as well as seasonal changes on Mars. He also perceived global warming as a growing, man-made danger and likened it to the natural development of Venus into a hot, life-hostile planet through a kind of runaway greenhouse effect.
Sagan is best known, however, for his research on the possibilities of extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation.
He is also the 1994 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".
Sagan was chief technology officer of the professional planetary research journal Icarus for twelve years. He co-founded the Planetary Society, the largest space-interest group in the world, with over 100,000 members in more than 149 countries, and was a member of the SETI Institute Board of Trustees. Sagan served as Chairman of the Division for Planetary Science of the American Astronomical Society, as President of the Planetology Section of the American Geophysical Union, and as Chairman of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
At the height of the Cold War, Sagan became involved in public awareness efforts for the effects of nuclear war when a mathematical climate model suggested that a substantial nuclear exchange could upset the delicate balance of life on Earth.
Sagan also wrote books to popularize science which reflected and expanded upon some of the themes of A Personal Voyage, and became the best-selling science book ever published in English;[25] The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence, which won a Pulitzer Prize; and Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science. Sagan also wrote the best-selling science fiction novel Contact in 1985, based on a film treatment he wrote with his wife in 1979, but he did not live to see the book's 1997 motion picture adaptation, which starred Jodie Foster and won the 1998 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Adaption.
Sagan became more politically active—particularly in opposing escalation of the nuclear arms race under President Ronald Reagan. When Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared a unilateral moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons, which would begin on August 6, 1985—the 40th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima—the Reagan administration dismissed the dramatic move as nothing more than propaganda, and refused to follow suit. In response, US anti-nuclear and peace activists staged a series of protest actions at the Nevada Test Site, beginning on Easter Sunday in 1986 and continuing through 1987. Hundreds of people were arrested, including Sagan, who was arrested on two separate occasions as he climbed over a chain-link fence at the test site.
Sagan wrote frequently about religion and the relationship between religion and science, expressing his skepticism about the conventional conceptualization of God as a sapient being.
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Sagan as presenter. It was executive-produced by Adrian Malone, produced by David Kennard, Geoffrey Haines-Stiles and Gregory Andorfer, and directed by the producers, David Oyster, Richard Wells, Tom Weidlinger, and others. It covered a wide range of scientific subjects, including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe.
The series was first broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1980 and was the most widely watched series in the history of American public television until The Civil War (1990). As of 2009, it was still the most widely watched PBS series in the world. It won an Emmy and a Peabody Award and has since been broadcast in more than 60 countries and seen by over 500 million people.  A book was also published to accompany the series.
In the Video Bellow we can see the introduction of this program, which was watched by Shri Nathji.

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