Carl Sagan was a 20th-century scientist born in 1934 in New York. He died on December 20, 1996, at the age of 62 from complications of pneumonia and a bone disease called myelodysplasia. Sagan had a varied education in several scientific fields including physics, astronomy, biology, and cosmology.  Sagan was instrumental in pioneering cooperation between scientists in different fields. He helped define two new fields of planetary science and exobiology.


1. Outreach

Carl Sagan's biggest contribution to the world was his ability to explain science to the lay public. Many scientists, especially researchers, are not good at explaining their work outside of the scientific community. Sagan attributed his own unusually effective ability to communicate on such subjects to not being 'the most brilliant student.' There is no doubt Sagan was a very intelligent person, but he claimed that the 'most brilliant' absorb new concepts instantly and are not familiar with the process of understanding most people experience while building knowledge.

Carl Sagan Mickey Adair / Getty Images

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