“Understanding is joyous” ~ Happy Sagan Day!

(Firstly, I know everyone gets excited about Starbucks “Christmas Cups”…let me just say, I do not. I get frustrated, they are terrible canvases. *sigh)

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The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.

~Carl Sagan

You know that ice breaking question: If you could sit down for coffee with 5 people who would they be? Well, today marks the birth of one of my 5: Dr. Carl Sagan (11/9/34-12/20/96).

sagan

So, in honor of Dr. Sagan, many science enthusiast (read: “nerds”) gather on Nov. 9th to celebrate this pioneer in cosmology & astrophysics, a man that revolutionized our understanding of what it means to be on this tiny blue dot in the universe….with what else but great discussions about science!

I could go on and on for hours about my love of Dr. Sagan’s work and his influence on me as a young scientist, instead I encourage you to explore for yourself, you can find him in practically every medium for consumption: Books, TV, Movies… I will leave you with this passage from The Skeptical Inquirer which he wrote in the early 90s just a few years before his death:

Science is much more than a body of knowledge. It is a way of thinking. This is central to its success. Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions. It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which ones best match the facts. It urges on us a fine balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything — new ideas and established wisdom. We need wide appreciation of this kind of thinking. It works. It’s an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change. Our task is not just to train more scientists but also to deepen public understanding of science.

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