Expert Voices

Carl Sagan on the Bible, Aliens and Hollywood (The Experimenters)

Carl Sagan and Models of Planets
The Carl Sagan Institute: Pale Blue Dots and Beyond, at Cornell University, is named after the late astrophysicist and science popularize, and will assist in the search for life elsewhere in the cosmos. (Image credit: Photo by Eduardo Castaneda)

David Gerlach is the executive producer of "Blank on Blank," which brings new life to classic interviews, and the founder of Quoted Studios, a nonprofit dedicated to animated journalism. This original text highlights the video about Carl Sagan that originally appeared at "Blank on Blank." Gerlach contributed this article to's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The incomprehensible vastness of the universe. The wonder of our own place in it all. Carl Sagan was able to explain the science of space in a way everyone could understand. Among his long list of roles and accomplishments, the Cornell professor and NASA advisor is possibly best known for the 13-part television series which reached millions of people worldwide and sealed his place as celebrity scientist — "Cosmos."

Maybe he was teased a bit for his tendency to say the word "billions" ... a lot. But Carl Sagan had this amazing talent for explaining the scientific wonders of the universe without losing the wonder. When he spoke about the science of space, he captured imaginations and held people in thrall.

As part of our special series, The Experimenters — where we're uncovering interviews with the icons of science, technology and innovation — we found this conversation between Studs Terkel and Carl Sagan in the Studs Terkel Radio Archive. Following "Contact," the book Sagan wrote with wife Ann Druyan (and the major motion picture that followed it), Sagan spoke with Studs all about humanity's continuing search for intelligent life "out there" — including how, for a long time, Hollywood just got the whole story wrong.

Additional episodes in The Experimenters feature Frank Lloyd Wright, Temple Grandin and Sally Ride. Learn more at

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