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

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Thorndike Press, Mar 1, 1998 - Science - 446 pages
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In this book, his last, Carl Sagan shows once again his extraordinary ability to interpret the mysteries of life and the majesty of the universe for the general reader. In "Billions and Billions" Sagan applies what we know about science, mathematics, and space to everyday life as well as to the exploration of many essential questions concerning the environment and our future. Ranging far and wide in subject matter, he takes his readers on a soaring journey, from the invention of chess to the possibility of life on Mars, from Monday Night Football to the relationship between the United States and Russia, from global warming to the abortion debate. And, on a more intimate note, we are given a rare glimpse of the author himself as he movingly describes his valiant fight for his life, his love for his family, and his personal beliefs about death and God.

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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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An excellent look into the mind of one of the most respected and loved scientists ever. Although some parts are better or more interesting than others it does give Sagan's views (and most importantly, the reasoning behind them) on many topics not covered in other books or his television series. A perfect book for anyone looking for methods to critically analyzing issues from abortion to global warming to politics. 

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About the author (1998)

A respected planetary scientist best known outside the field for his popularizations of astronomy, Carl Sagan was born in New York City on November 9, 1934. He attended the University of Chicago, where he received a B.A. in 1954, a B.S. in 1955, and a M.S. in 1956 in physics as well as a Ph.D. in 1960 in astronomy and astrophysics. He has several early scholarly achievements including the experimental demonstration of the synthesis of the energy-carrying molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in primitive-earth experiments. Another was the proposal that the greenhouse effect explained the high temperature of the surface of Venus. He was also one of the driving forces behind the mission of the U.S. satellite Viking to the surface of Mars. He was part of a team that investigated the effects of nuclear war on the earth's climate - the "nuclear winter" scenario. Sagan's role in developing the "Cosmos" series, one of the most successful series of any kind to be broadcast on the Public Broadcasting System, and his book The Dragons of Eden (1977) won the Pulitzer Prize in 1978. He also wrote the novel Contact, which was made into a movie starring Jodie Foster. He died from pneumonia on December 20, 1996.

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