September 15, 2006
Ann Druyan is a renowned author, lecturer, and television and motion picture writer/producer whose work mostly explores the implications of science and technology for our society. She is the widow of the great Carl Sagan with whom she was a co-writer of the Emmy and Peabody Award winning television series Cosmos. She served as Creative Director for the NASA Voyager Interstellar Record Project that included music and images on the Voyager Spacecrafts that serve as a greeting to possible alien civilizations. She co-created and co-produced of the Oscar nominated movie Contact starring Jodie Foster, which is based on the novel of the same name that she co-wrote with Carl Sagan. She is also the author or co-author of several other books, including A Famous Broken Heart, and Comet, which was on the New York Times best seller list for two months. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, also written with Carl Sagan, was another New York Times best seller. Druyan has a new book out in November entitled The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God, which explores her and Sagan’s views on science and religion.
Druyan is co-founder and CEO of Cosmos Studios, which produces science-based entertainment across many types of media. Since 2000, Cosmos Studios has produced four documentaries, including “Cosmic Journey” which was nominated for an Emmy for the best nature/science documentary. She is also a Fellow of CSICOP at the Center for Inquiry.
In this discussion with DJ Grothe, she stresses the point that people can have a sense of awe and wonder about the universe without having to believe in God or the supernatural, discusses the work of Carl Sagan and his lasting impact, examines the growing need for scientific literacy in our society, and shares why, despite the current cultural war against science, she is optimistic about the future.
Also in this episode, Carl Sagan’s last public address for CSICOP, from its conference in Seattle in 1994, is presented in its entirety. In this keynote, entitled “Wonder and Skepticism”, Sagan eloquently conveys prescient insights about the future of science and technology, argues why science is the best way of looking at the world, shares almost prophetic statements about the cultural war against science in America today, passionately calls for tempering skepticism with a humane understanding of why it is so easy in our society to not be skeptical, and encourages the listener to foster such appreciation for this kind of skepticism especially among young people.
And in addition, Lauren Becker shares a moving piece entitled “The Gifts of Carl Sagan.”