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Carl Sagan was Director of the Laboratory for Planetary studies and David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking and Voyager expeditions to the Planets, for which he received the NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and for Distinguished Public Service, and the international astronauts prize, the Prix Galabert.

Ge served Chairman of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, as Chairman of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and as President of the Planetology Section of the American Geophysical Union. For twelve years, he was editor-in-chief of Icarus, the leading professional journal devoted to planetary research. In addition to four hundred published scientific and popular articles, Dr Sagan was the author, co-author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Intelligent Life in the Universe, The Cosmic Connection, The Dragon of Eden, Murmurs of Earth, Broca's Brain and the bestselling science novel, Contact.

He was a recipient of the Joseph Priestley Award 'for distinguished contributions to the welfare of mankind', and the Pulitzer Prize for literature.

Carl Sagan died in December 1996.

Grateful acknowledgment is a made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material:

American Folklore Society: Excerpt form "Chukchee Tales" by Waldemar Borgoras, from Journal of American Folklore, volume 41 (1928). Reprinted by permission of the American Folklore society.

J.M Dent & sons, Ltd: Excerpts from the J.M Rodwell translation of The Koran (An Everyman's Library Series). Reprinted by permission of J.M Dent & Sons, Ltd.

J.M Dent & Sons, Ltd, and E.P. Dutton: Excerpts from Pensees by Blaise Pascal. translated by W.F Trotter (An everyman's library series). Reprinted by permission of the publisher in the United States, E.P Dutton, and the publisher in England, J.M Dent & Sons, Ltd.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.: Quote by Isaac Newton (Optics), quote by Joseph Fourier (Analytic Theory of Heat), and A Question put to pythagoras by anaximenes (c. 600 B.C). Reprinted with permission from Great books of the western world. Copyright 1952 by Encyclopedia britannica, Inc.

Harvard University press: quote by democritus of Abdera taken from Loeb Classical Library. Reprinted by permission of Harvard University press.

Indiana University press: Excerpts from Ovid, Morphoses, translated by Rolfie Humphries, copyright 1955 by Indiana

 University press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Liveright publishing corporation: Lines reprinted from The Bridge, a poem by Hart Crane, with the permission of liveright publishing corporation, copyright 1933, 1958, 1970 by liveright publishing corporation.

Oxford University press: Excerpts from Zurvan: A Zoroastrian Dilemma by R.C Zaehner (Clarendon University press.

Penguin Books, Ltd.: One line from Enuma elish, Sumer, in poems of heaven and hell from ancient mesopotamia, translated by N.K Sandars (Penguins classics, 1971). Copyright N.K Sandars 1971, Twelve lines from Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, translated by D.C Lau (Penguin classics, 1963). Copyright D.C Lau, 1963. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Books, Ltd.

Pergamon press, Ltd: Excerpts from Giant Meteorites by E.L Krinov are reprinted by permission of Pergamon press, Ltd.

Simon & Schuster, Inc: Quote from the Bhagavad Gita from Lawrence and Opppenheimer by Nuel Pharr Davis (1968, page 239), and excerpt from The Sand Reckoner by Archimedes taken from The World of Mathematics by James Newman (1956, volume 1, page 420). Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Simon & Schuster, Inc., and Bruno Cassirer, Ltd: Quote from The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis. Reprinted by permission of the publisher in the United /states, Simon & Schuster, Inc., and the publisher in England, Bruno Cassirer (Publishers), Ltd., Oxford. Copyright 1960 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.

The University of Oklahoma Press: Excerpt from Papol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiche Maya, by Adrian Recinos, 1950. Copyright 1950 by the University of Oklahoma Press. Reprinted by permission of the University of Oklahoma Press.

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