Carl Edward Sagan

Born 1934, American astronomer and pioneer exobiologist. Sagan was born in New York City and studied at the University of Chicago, where he received a Ph.D. in astrophysics. Sagan's research was directed toward evidence of life in outer space. He also studied the origins of organisms with the geneticists Hermann J. Muller and Joshua Lederberg. Lederberg and Sagan had a large share in establishing exobiology, the search for extraterrestrial life, as a scientific discipline.

After serving as assistant professor of astronomy at Harvard University and astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (1962-68), Sagan became director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He has worked on many space-exploration projects. Besides numerous scientific publications, Sagan has written several popular science books including The Dragons of Eden (1977); Broca's Brain (1979); Cosmos (1980), based on the television series of the same name, which he produced; and Comet (1985). He also wrote a novel, Contact (1985).

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