I’ve just finished the final chapter of Carl Sagan’s final book, “In the Valley of the Shadow”, in Billions and Billions. He died shortly after completing it. What a remarkable human being he was. Isaac Asimov, the prolific writer who was also (briefly) a Ph.D chemist famously said that Carl Sagan was one of only two people he had ever met who was clearly smarter than himself (the other was Marvin Minsky). However, it’s not his intelligence that I most admire, but he was remarkable ability to understand and empathize with other people.
Only Carl Sagan could bring together people from both ends of both the political and religious spectra, by being, apparently sincerely, genuinely able to understand all points of view in a largely non-judgemental way. Things have been so divisive in both American and Canadian politics the last 10 years, I think we really feel the loss of someone like him.