Cosmos: Traveller's Tales
Humans like to travel. We are driven to discovery by an instinct of curiosity we simply can't fight. We did it in previous centuries, eventually populating every corner of the globe, and we are still doing it now, visiting and studying planets that just a few centuries ago seemed to be nothing more than pretty lights in the infinitely distant sky.
Drawing on the history of human travel, and concentrating on the social and political conditions that gave rise to the intellectual progress made in Holland during the beginning of the Enlightenment with figures like Huygens and Leeuwenhoek, not to mention all the great thinkers who found refuge for their daring and revolutionary new ideas there, Carl Sagan meditates on the lessons we can still learn today about how to ensure the continuation of our own intellectual and scientific success. This, of course, is all part of his classic documentary series, Cosmos.
If you want to learn more about the fascinating story behind the golden records carried on the Voyager missions, check out this amazing RadioLab interview with Anne Druyan, Carl Sagan's widow.
And if you're thinking the name Leeuwenhoek sounds familiar, it's probably because you learned about his discovery of sperm here..
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