December 20, 1996.
A great man died today. After a long struggle with a special kind of bone marrow cancer, Carl Sagan, scientist, philosopher, and teacher, succumbed to pneumonia in Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Dr. Sagan's mind touched many of us who care deeply about science and life. His books, and more importantly, his television show "Cosmos", brought the wonder and beauty of science to millions of people around the world who might otherwise have remained in ignorance about their place in the universe.
Among his legacies is the spirit of the humanness of human kind. By showing us that we are possibly alone in all of the universe, we must learn to live together, or perish in the spark of self-annihilation. By showing us that we are possibly not alone, he gave us hope to dream of contact with other, non-human civilizations. His demand for proof that we are not alone in the universe showed an optimism and pragmatism that cut through the foolishness of those who would have us believe that alien abductions and visitations are common occurrences. His meditations on the torturous path that science has taken in the few thousand years that mankind has been aware of the universe proves that we are a young civilization, but one with great potential.
The world of science, the world of humanity, the universe itself, is a poorer place today for having lost a voice of clarity and reason from our ranks.
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