Last November my partner and I hosted a party to celebrate Carl Sagan Day. It was an evening dedicated to science and our favourite science communicator.
For the event I sketched up a 3/4 scale drawing of Carl and hung it in our lounge room so he could partake in the night. We had various facts and quotes hanging around the house, facts about Listeria posted on our fridge, existential quotes from Carl in the bathroom so guests could contemplate in private.
Episodes of COSMOS played in the background, and guests were encouraged to dress up as Carl (with billions of success).
Here is the opening of the party invitation (and yes, it was quite a long invitation):
“Beloved friends, you are invited to celebrate Carl Sagan’s Birthday – November 9th – with us at our new abode (by the way we have a new place).
Known worldwide as Sagan Day, November the 9th commemorates Carl Sagan’s birth in 1934. Carl was an astronomer, biologist, political and animal rights activist, pacifist, fiction and non-fiction author, futurist, and much, much more.
We love Carl for his humbled view of Earth and its inhabitants. Carl suggested the Voyager 1 space probe, floating 6 billion kms from Earth, to turn on the spot and photograph Earth and all of its inhabitants.
In the photograph, Earth is just one tenth of a pixel, here are Carl’s omniscient words on the image:
His book COSMOS is the best selling science book ever written in English, and the resulting Emmy award winning series, hosted by the man himself, has been watched by a billion people in sixty countries.
The National Science Foundation posthumously awarded Carl with their highest honour, declaring that, “…his gifts to mankind were infinite.”
Carl opened the eyes and minds of millions to skeptical inquiry, critical thinking, and a spiritual, evidence-based wonder for the universe we exist in. Join us for an evening of good ol’ Carl lovin’ partying.”
My girlfriend and I are currently watching Neil deGrasse Tyson’s COSMOS. We keep getting bouts of adoration and sadness whenever Neil quotes from Carl (some Carl quotes). I’m enjoying the COSMOS remake, but the original – even though I was decades away from existence/nostalgia – affects me in a deeply emotional way. Carl represented everything I love about science; every November 9th my mind will be with science, Carl, and our cosmos.