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Astronomer, astrophysicist, exobiologist
He studied stuff in space, the physics of space, and the biology of extraterrestrial life.
Birth and death
Carl Sagan was born November 9, 1934 in Brooklyn, New York and died December 20, 1996.
What he was known for
He was famous for starting SETI, the search for intelligence, creating the theory of nuclear winter, and the experimental demonstration of producing amino acids from basic chemicals through radiation. He was also known for designing the plaques to be placed on the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft describing humans and their position in the universe.
The theory of nuclear winter is the idea that a nuclear war could stir up enough dust to block out the sun for a very long period, making the planet very cold and killing most plants on Earth. That is the origin of the name nuclear winter. He also experimentally demonstrated that amino acids could be produced from basic chemicals through ultraviolet radiation. This is very important because amino acids, in the form of proteins, comprise the second largest part of human muscle tissue and are essential for neurotransmitter activity. This experiment explained one of the origins of human life and greatly increased the chances of extraterrestrial life.
1960- Graduated from The University of Chicago with a PHD in astronomy and astrophysics. He 1960- Began work as a Miller Fellow at The University of California, Berkeley.
1962- Worked at the Smithsonian astrophysical observatory in Cambridge, Mass while lecturing and researching astrophysics at Harvard University.
1968- Moved to Ithica, NY and became a professor at Cornell University.
1971- Started as the assistant director of the Center for Radiophysics and Space research at Cornell. He taught a course on critical thinking until 1996 when he died of pneumonia.
Did you know?
Nick Sagan, Carl Sagan’s son, wrote an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise titled “Terra Prime”. A CGI of a Carl Sagan memorial plaque was put on Mars in that episode.
In 1994, Apple computers chose the internal codename of “Carl Sagan” for the Apple Powermac 7100. When Sagan found that his name was being used to refer to a computer, he sued Apple. Though Apple won the lawsuit, the codename was changed to BHA (butt-head astronomer).
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Santoso, Alex. “10 Neat Facts about Carl Sagan.” Neatorama. Alex Santoso, 9 Nov. 2009. Web. 19 Sept. 2013.
Spangenburg, Ray and Kit Moser. Carl Sagan: a biography. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004. Print.
The Literary Man. “Iconic Literary Man: Carl Sagan.” Literaryman. The Literary Man, 24 May 2012. Web. 18 Sept. 2013
Wikipedia. “Amino acid.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 12 Sept. 2013. Web. 18 Sept. 2013
Wikipedia. “Carl Sagan.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 18 Sept. 2013
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