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Cosmos by Carl Sagan

by Venky


In this monumental tour de force, the late Carl Sagan pays a stupendous tribute to Science, the vast Phalanx of Stars adorning a plethora of Galaxies and to the serendipitous findings that are the efforts of a few stellar men and women who strove to understand Evolution, Cosmos and the very meaning of life.

In this gripping achievement of common sense, thought and reason,this beloved and genial astronomer does his best to make us understand our purpose on this Planet. Exquisitely tracing our path of evolution that involved, in what may seem to be an absurd improbability, a Devonian fish, to the act of firing a couple of Interstellar Spaceships (Voyagers I & II) into the depths of outer space, Carl Sagan eloquently, elegantly and enthusiastically holds forth on the Cosmological significance that is essential to appreciate our existence on Planet Earth.

Although an encomium to Science, there runs throughout the book an invisible, but strong thread of spirituality and deep philosophy. Every page strives and, and succeeds in no small measure in underscoring the significantly infinitesimal position that mankind occupies in the Cosmic Playground. But completely ignorant of such a tiny confinement in the theatre of Space, man chooses to continually envelope himself in a self created blanket of vice and vicissitude. How vainglorious and trivial are the self proclaimed triumphs of the Homo Sapien when compared to the stirring functionalities of the Cosmos!

Although some of the concepts such as black holes, quarks and supernovae pose a veritable challenge to even able quantum physicists, let alone an unsuspecting layman, Sagan takes care to handhold the reader through the noxious admixture of gases and vapours and deftly evades the path of careening comets and interstellar boulders. Sagan is not just an unflinching servant of Science, but an admirable teacher of the subject that is pinned to his heart.

‘Cosmos’ will stand the sternest test of anytime. But more than anything else it will serve as a beautiful and timely reminder to we earthlings to re-examine our foibles and follies and channel our tangible resources and intangible potentials towards the causes of empowerment, education and enlightenment instead of getting enmeshed, entangled and embroiled in the temporary passions of Power, Politics and Perniciousness.


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