Carl Sagan is possibly my favorite science popularizer ever.
He spoke like few scientists can. He was capable of distilling massive ideas into beautiful prose. And, perhaps most importantly, he was able to motivate young people to become interested in science.
He cared a lot about science. It was a passion that was visible to everyone, the way music is obviously a passion when you see someone on stage singing her heart out. Science is often seen as dry and boring. It’s thought that scientists deal in cold hard facts, and the human aspect of life is marginalized. It’s not the case, but only a few are able to express the human aspect to the rest of the world.
The Sagan Series on youtube is one of the most inspirational bunch of videos I’ve ever seen. Those, along with the Richard Feynman videos, are always a go to source of inspiration for me. Whenever I get weighed down by the immensity of the task of understanding, I turn to them both to remind myself that it’s worth the trouble.
The Pale Blue Dot is possibly the best example of this. At the very least, it’s my personal favorite. I can never get tired of it and its reminder of our place in the cosmos with a dash of hope. (It’s a great little book, too.)