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ISSUE 3 - May 2008

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The Incomparable Carl Sagan: Scientist, Presenter
(page 20-21)
Garr Reynolds

First Paragraph
Carl Sagan (1934–96) was a famous and brilliant astronomer who was also a great speaker and presenter (Figure 1). If Carl Sagan had spoken at the Technology Entertainment Design Conference Series (TED) — the annual series of conferences that brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives — I am sure he would have been one of the best presenters ever. I was a huge fan of Carl Sagan back in the 1980s and learned a lot from his famous TV series, Cosmos. Sagan always spoke of complex issues in ways that were easy to understand and made you excited about science. He did not dumb down the issues, but he had an engaging and unique way of putting an issue in context, illuminating and illustrating his points in a way that listeners could comprehend. He was a scientistpresenter who cared about being clear and about being understood.