Carl Sagan was perhaps the most well-known science popularizer of the 20th century. He is best known for his 13-episode PBS series Cosmos, his many popular science books, and his authorship of the novel behind the 1997 movie Contact, starring Jodie Foster. His ability to make science—particularly astronomy and planetary science—accessible to the general public by capturing people's imaginations and conveying both the importance and the excitement of science made him an exceptionally successful communicator. He also pioneered the field of exobiology (the study of life beyond Earth) and made many other important scientific contributions during his career.

School and Early Research

Sagan was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 9, 1934. In 1951, he entered the University of Chicago at age 16, and in 1954, ...

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