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Astronomy

Library of Congress Acquires Sagan’s Personal Collection, Thanks to Seth MacFarlane

27 Jun , 2012 by

Carl Sagan’s personal archive — a comprehensive collection of papers contained within 798 boxes — was delivered to the Library of Congress recently for sorting… thanks in no small part to “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane. (Yes, you read that right.)

According to an article in the Washington Post yesterday by Joel Achenbach — who also got a chance to browse through several of the boxes — MacFarlane provided an “undisclosed sum of money” to the Library to purchase the collection from Sagan’s widow Ann Druyan, who had kept the papers preserved in storage at their home in Ithaca, NY.

As briefly reported in a previous article here on Universe Today, MacFarlane has been working to bring Sagan’s Cosmos series back to television, with Neil deGrasse Tyson reprising Sagan’s role. In fact it was Tyson who introduced MacFarlane to Druyan, and apparently got a peek at the astrophysicist’s impressive collection of papers, which “ranges from childhood report cards to college term papers to eloquent letters written just before his untimely death in 1996 at age 62.”

“He wasn’t a pack rat at all,” Druyan said. “But I think he had a sense of his place in cultural history. I think he knew he was corresponding with the great and the near-great both inside and outside of science.”

Also noted in the article are “files labeled F/C, for ‘fissured ceramics,’ Sagan’s code name for letters from crackpots.” How very Sagan.

The collection is spread out across tables inside a vast room in the Library of Congress’ Madison Building for organization, a process expected to take several months. The Library will announce its acquisition later today.

Read the full article here on the Washington Post.

As a fan of Carl Sagan, Cosmos, Neil Tyson and Seth MacFarlane… there’s really nothing to not like about this!

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By  -        
A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!



14 Responses

  1. Bunnyman09 says:

    Seth MacFarlane is at the very least 5 million different kinds of awesome.

  2. That’s good news but I don’t see how it could fit Fox’s mandate to DUMBERIZE Americans.

  3. Ron Bockman says:

    Sagan said that a nuclear type winter would result from Iraq setting fire to Kuwait’s oil fields. So much for his scientific mind.

    • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says:

      Show me a man who has never made a mistake, and I’ll show you a man who has not done anything!

      • Ron Bockman says:

        Nuclear winter, that’s a big f’ing miscalculation for a scientist. He just didn’t know what the hell he was talking about

        • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says:

          Carl Sagan never said that the Kuwaiti oil fires would result in a “nuclear type winter”. What he had said was that some of the effects of the smoke could be similar to the effects of nuclear winter and that enough smoke from the fires “might get so high as to disrupt agriculture in much of South Asia […]”. It was the bloody tabloid press and media that had significantly exaggerated the global effects!

  4. Mike Oliver says:

    I would understand “nearly 800 boxes,” but isn’t “nearly 798 boxes” really just 797 boxes?

  5. Karl Sagan, when reached for comment, was found to have little to say in regards to Seth Macfarlane’s donation…
    Life is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  6. Lord Haw-Haw. says:

    Dr. Carl Sagan’s investigation into the R-complex (R for reptilian) aspect of our brains and the correlation with the societal dominance hierarchy is noteworthy. Territoriality, aggression, ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders, all of which put our survival in some doubt. “The Dragons of Eden” outlines the phenomena as does “Broca’s Brain.” His death extinguished a candle in the dark, Ann Druyan to her great credit continues his admirable scientific legacy to this day.

  7. Dampe says:

    Every primary school student should know who Carl Sagan is. Why can’t Cosmos be shown to every student in school? Even with its slight outdated information, it’s still more accurate than An Inconvenient Truth, something that is now part of many Australian schools curriculum…

    • nafin says:

      It is also significantly more inspirational and less defeatist, damning, and refrains from exaggeration. Plus it was written by a scientist not a politician.

  8. Skipdallas says:

    I owe my interest in astronomy to “Cosmos” the original series that Carl Sagan hosted. Carl’s sense of awe and wonder was infectious, and he did a great deal towards popularizing the sciences for a whole generation. I felt a personal sense of loss when he passed away. Thank you Seth, Ms Druyan, and Dr Tyson on the work all of you are doing on the updated version of “Cosmos”.

  9. nafin says:

    This sounds like the best summer project ever!

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