Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium

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Random House Publishing Group, Jul 6, 2011 - Science - 320 pages
12 Reviews
In the final book of his astonishing career, Carl Sagan brilliantly examines the burning questions of our lives, our world, and the universe around us. These luminous, entertaining essays travel both the vastness of the cosmos and the intimacy of the human mind, posing such fascinating questions as how did the universe originate and how will it end, and how can we meld science and compassion to meet the challenges of the coming century? Here, too, is a rare, private glimpse of Sagan's thoughts about love, death, and God as he struggled with fatal disease. Ever forward-looking and vibrant with the sparkle of his unquenchable curiosity, Billions & Billions is a testament to one of the great scientific minds of our day.

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Billions and billions: thoughts on life and death at the brink of the millennium

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It is doubtful that there is anyone unfamiliar with noted astronomer and science writer Sagan's ability to convey the wonder, excitement, and joy of science. This book is a wonderful, if eclectic ... Read full review

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Reviewed Jan 2002
Written much like "Demon Haunted World" Sagan uses essays to make his point about the issues important to him, the environment, the arms race, abortion rights, space global
warming, ozone depletion and peace in the Universe.
His arguments are convincing and leading, sometimes he uses chemical formulas of physics to make his point which is where he usually looses me. His first chapter "Billions & Billions" is very interesting about numbers, large numbers. I guess I never really thought about how big a billion really is, its quite large! His chapter, "The Twentieth Century" will probably the most helpful for my Capstone, as it deals with science education and how it compares to the rest of the world.
The last chapter of his book "in the Valley of the Shadow" deals with the illiness that finally caused his death. his honesty about his thoughts on life and death were heart-wrenching. Part of the chapter is written while in his hospital bed during treatment. His wife Anne writes the epilogue to the reader speaking of her love for him. Through Carl Sagan will not live ever after in a spirit world, he will continue to live on and inspire other through his work. RIP

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About the author (2011)

Carl Sagan served as the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo spacecraft expeditions, for which he received the NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and (twice) for Distinguished Public Service.
His Emmy- and Peabody–winning television series, Cosmos, became the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. The accompanying book, also called Cosmos, is one of the bestselling science books ever published in the English language. Dr. Sagan received the Pulitzer Prize, the Oersted Medal, and many other awards—including twenty honorary degrees from American colleges and universities—for his contributions to science, literature, education, and the preservation of the environment. In their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan of their highest honor, the National Science Foundation declared that his “research transformed planetary science . . . his gifts to mankind were infinite." Dr. Sagan died on December 20, 1996.

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