What an astonishing thing a book is | Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Ep.11, The Persistence of Memory

Carl Sagan was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science educator in astronomy and other natural sciences.

Here Carl speaks, in his unmistakable way, about the wonder of books.

What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

Carl Sagan, 1980

For those of you who are interested in the idea of memory you can find a link to the full episode (for educational purposes) here.

If you would like to read more about Carl Sagan and watch another video which introduces you to his most famous Pale Blue Dot speech there is an interesting article here.

For a curated list of reading to enjoy try our Summer Reading List, which includes more reflecions on humanity and the cosmos from Professor Brian Cox. Our Summer Watching List also includes a link to the BBC series Planets.