Thirty years ago Carl Sagan hosted a little series on PBS called Cosmos. And with the hushed intonations of “billions and billions” he helped create a new generation of scientists, kids who grew up thinking bigger, thinking that the universe being massive and complicated was the most singularly awesome thing imaginable. And I mean that in the actual dictionary definition of that word: the universe is staggering and beautiful and as such it fills an observer with awe. If anyone is the intellectual heir of Sagan, it’s the fantastic Neil deGrasse Tyson, and it’s only fitting that he’s running a new 13 episode run of Cosmos, starting Sunday night and airing on Fox.
Like I said, the universe is a strangely complex place sometimes. Though hopefully they don’t run the episodes out of order and cancel it halfway through the season.
The relationship between the two men is an interesting phenomenon in its own right. I heard Tyson talk once about how when he visited Cornell looking at colleges, Sagan took him home, gave him dinner, drove him to the train station afterwards, and just took the time out of being Carl Fucking Sagan to chat up some pre-frosh who was thinking about coming to the school. And Tyson cites that as one of the points that changed his life: to not just want to be a brilliant scientist, but to be the sort who wants to educate, one person or millions at a time.
There’s an interview Tyson over on HuffPo, you should go read it. And then you should gaze longingly at the stars, tell someone else how they sing to you, and then watch Cosmos on Sunday night. I mean, it’s not like Downton or Sherlock are running, so get on that.