Sagan, Carl Edward

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SAGAN, CARL EDWARD (1934–1996), astronomer. Sagan was born in New York. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1954, received his doctorate in 1960, and was appointed astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. (1962–68), during which period he was also assistant professor at Harvard. In 1968 he was appointed a member of the faculty of Cornell University, where he was David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking and Voyager unmanned missions to the planets, and was from 1968 to 1980 editor-in-chief of Icarus: The International Journal of Solar System Studies. Sagan served as chairman of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, as president of the Planetology Section of the American Geophysical Union, and was responsible for the Pioneer 10 and 11 and Voyager 1 and 2 interstellar messages.

He wrote The Atmospheres of Mars and Venus (1961), Planets (1966), Intelligent Life in the Universe (1966), Planetary Exploration (1970), Mars and the Mind of Man (1973), The Cosmic Connection (1973), Other Worlds (1975), The Dragons of Eden (1977), Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record (1979), Broca's Brain (1979), and Cosmos (1980).

Sagan was the recipient of numerous awards, including the nasa Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (1972), and for Distinguished Public Service (1977), the Prix Galabert (1973), and the Pulitzer Prize for Literature (1978).