Space, Time, and Sagan (Eddy’s Research Proposal)

Space, Time, and Sagan

I’ve known Sagan’s name for years now, and had a slight curiosity about him that I never got around to satisfying. I’ve seen his video on the fourth dimension, and certainly appreciated it, but that was pretty much it. That was up until this class. Watching “Travels Through Space and Time” and even hearing a bit of his personal life through Radiolab made him fascinating. I want to learn even more about Carl Sagan, and this research paper provides a great opportunity!

I guess, in a broad stroke, the question I’ll be answering is “To what extent does Carl Sagan’s legacy live on today?” Has our collective memory of Sagan washed out through the years? How do we see Carl Sagan today as opposed to the best picture I can construe of back then? We in the ASHA class are part of a generation that didn’t grow up with Sagan (unfortunately, looking back”¦ but we have Bill Nye at least!), so exposure to him comes through those who did experience his works, not media outlets reporting on his current events.

This question is also important for another reason as it is a reflection on what physics and cosmology were back then as opposed to now. Today, we hear about particle colliders, higgs bosons being either discovered or not, the speed of light being broken by neutrinos (they weren’t, by the way), dark matter, and so much more. Many of these ideas were around back in Sagan’s day, but in much more different forms than they are now. I believe that through examining Carl Sagan’s legacy as it is now compared to back then, I can also show the metamorphosis that physics has undergone, as well.


Sources (Possibly subject to change, though I would doubt it)

–                   Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, published by PBS. This includes the episode we watched for class: “Journeys Through Space and Time”

–                   The accompanying book Cosmos by Carl Sagan will be utilized as well

–                   Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan. This is the last book he published, so it offers his most recent scientific beliefs

–                   Carl Sagan: A Biography by Ray Spangenburg. This is the most recent biography on Carl Sagan I could find. It was published in 2009, as opposed to the most famous biography of Sagan published in 1999. I believe that Spangenburg’s will be more beneficial to due to it’s more recent nature    

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