Carl Sagan

American astronomer Carl Sagan was known and much beloved for his research on extraterrestrial life and the cosmos, which he shared with the public in his earnest, enthusiastic manner on his 1980 TV show “Cosmos,” the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. In his book “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark,” Sagan noted that even the simplest scientific concept, fully grasped, can elicit a spiritual experience. “The very act of understanding is a celebration of joining, merging, even if on a modest scale, with the magnificence of the cosmos,” he wrote. “When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.”

Insight