On November 9, 1934, Carl Sagan, an American astrophysicist, an outstanding popularizer of science and writer, author of the cult documentary series Cosmos, was born.

The scientist played a key role in the US space program and gave impetus to the development of SETI.

Attempts to detect other civilizations using radio signals began almost simultaneously in Russia and the US. The pioneers in this field in the States were Carl Sagan and Frank Drake, and we have V.S. Troitsky and I.S. Shklovsky. Carl Sagan visited Moscow more than once, paying visits to Moscow State University and Lebedev Physical Institute, and highly appreciated the work of the Soviet astronomer I.S. Shklovsky.

The Pulitzer Prize winner, Carl Sagan was the author of popular science books and science fiction novels, which, like his Cosmos series, became cult. Contact movie, based on one of his novels, was released in 1997 and nominated for Oscar in 1998.

In his famous book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Carl Sagan described methods of testing hypotheses and finding false and deceptive ideas, urging people to make extensive use of the scientific method.

In 1991, Carl Sagan was nominated for membership in the National Academy of Sciences but did not even pass the first round of voting. Biographers of the scientist linked this decision of the Academy members with the astronomer’s fame as a popularizer of science. There is a stereotype that was even called the Sagan Effect: either you are successful in science or educational activities, scientists who are more visible in the public space contribute less to science than scientists who are secluded in their laboratories. The stereotype is false, at least when it comes to Sagan – it was later shown that, according to objective data, his contribution to science is no less than that of most of his colleagues – members of the Academy of Sciences.

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