When we think of the great minds of science, the list usually includes Galileo, Newton, Einstein and Feynman, but never Sagan. Famous for his PBS Cosmos series, Sagan is rarely given public credit for his contributions to science that ranged across many disciplines, from astronomy and cosmology to space exploration and global warming to making science accessible to the layperson. Sagan contributions were less in the "deep thinker" category than the other great thinkers I listed above, he was a broad picture guy, and that is what made his contributions so important.
In this 9/15/2006 podcast from the Point of Inquiry website, Sagan gives the keynote address at the Center for Inquiry conference of 1994. He speaks of the nature of science and gives eminently clear explanations for why science is the best method for investigating and learning about the universe. Great stuff. Before this is an interview with Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow and a great intellect in her own right.
The name of this podcast episode is "Ann Druyan - Science, Wonder and Spirituality". The Ann Druyan interview begins at 9:30, and the Sagan talk begins at 44:30.
To listen to this podcast you can visit the Point of Inquiry website and select which method you'd like to use to access their podcasts, like iTunes or MP3. Or you can click on the Listen Now link in the right hand navigation column, scroll about halfway down in the podcast list window that comes up, select the Ann Druyan podcast and begin listening.
If you've heard Druyan interviewed before then I'd skip it, but if you haven't then it is well worth anyone's time. She's as articulate and insightful as Carl.
Carl Sagan died over 10 years ago and so we rarely hear his voice anymore. This is a rare opportunity to hear Sagan at his best, communicating his love of science.
Dr. Zachary "Zach" Moore, a pathologist/microbiologist now at the University of Texas, has been hosting a podcast called Evolution 101 since early last year. It attempts to explain evolution in lay terms, and on the whole he does an admiral job. He provides some great ideas for how to communicate the principles of evolution to those unfamiliar with science. The website is:
Podcast #52 from The Skeptics' Guides To The Universe includes an interview with Bill Bennetta of The Textbook League. He lays out in clear detail and with examples why textbooks are bad and will only get worse:
You can click directly on the link and wait for it to download in a browser window, or you right-click on the link and select "Save Target As..." in Internet Explorer, or the equivalent in the other browsers.
An aside: when I last commented on The Skeptics' Guides To The Universe I called it rather dry. That's because in its early days it was just 3 or 4 guys (one of them brilliant, the host, Stephen Novella, an academic at Yale) sitting around discussing very interesting science and pseudo-science topics. Since then they've added Rebecca Watson of Skepchicks, and now this weekly podcast shines. Don't miss it. You can subscribe to it from their site, or download individual podcasts from their archive page, or, and I found this easiest, look it up from iTunes and click "subscribe".
Percy and Doddy, I see that you guys are fans of The Skeptics' Guide, too. I wasn't sure if Perry qualified for the "Recently Passed Greats" thread and I saw this mention of the show, so... here it is, I guess. Anyway, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I, for one, will miss him.
I was on vacation and missed this, just noticed it now. I just finished listening to The Skeptics Guide #69 not a half hour ago (it's from about a year ago, I'm still catching up, I'm not going to miss a single one) .
Seth explains something very simple that I had never understood about SETI before, which is what SETI is actually looking for. They're not looking for content, they're looking for narrow band radio emissions, a few Hertz wide at most. The narrowest natural radio emissions we know of are a couple hundred Hertz wide. Such a narrow band broadcast would represent the carrier signal, not the information. In order to detect any information that might be carried by the signal we'd have to build a bigger, more sensitive antennae array.
The interview begins at 34:10.
Seth has his own podcast, I haven't listened to it yet, but I'm going to give it a try. Here's the webpage for the show:
Too much of the information we link to from our messages is lost with the passage of time because of changing links due to website reorganizations. For the most part this can't be helped, but in the case of videos, audios and podcasts I think we should create an archive here.
Initially it would just be a webpage of links, so I wonder if anyone is interested in setting up this webpage for the site.