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Learn How Ithaca Hummus Makes Its Magic
Ithaca, N.Y. — Carl Sagan longed to explore other worlds, to learn if they, too, contain life. A research institution devoted to the pursuit of this challenge, the Carl Sagan Institute: Pale Blue Dot and Beyond, was unveiled May 9 at Cornell University, Sagan’s teaching and research home for most of his career. The inauguration event, “(un)Discovered Worlds,” featured a day of public talks given by leading scientists and renowned astronomy pioneers.
The Carl Sagan Institute (founded in 2014 as the Institute for Pale Blue Dots) is embedded in a rich environment of interdisciplinary cooperation at Cornell, bringing together astrophysicists, engineers, geologists, biologists and Earth scientists to find the fingerprints of life in the cosmos. The institute’s team members have wide-ranging backgrounds in both science and engineering. Their research focuses on other planets as well as our own; their collective experience includes numerous space missions, including Viking, Voyager, Rosetta and Cassini.
Emmy and Peabody award-winning writer/producer Ann Druyan announced the institute’s name at the May 9 inauguration event. Sagan and Druyan collaborated on numerous books, articles and speeches during their 20 years together; they co-created and produced the motion picture “Contact.” Druyan was co-writer of the original “Cosmos” TV series starring her late husband, as well as lead executive producer, co-writer and a director of “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.” She served as creative director of NASA’s legendary Voyager Interstellar Message Project, which Sagan chaired, and as program director on humanity’s first two solar sailing spacecraft missions.
“There’s a meta quality to this day,” Druyan said. “Honoring Carl by empowering interdisciplinary scientists to search for the answers to his most passionate scientific questioning, seeking to share that understanding with the public, and finding in that knowledge applications to life-threatening dangers here on Earth – that’s a multi-leveled and highly accurate reflection of who Carl was. That this new institute’s home is where he chose to work and live adds yet another meaningful dimension. From the moment I first met astrophysicist Lisa Kaltenegger, the Carl Sagan Institute’s founding director, I recognized one of Carl’s kindred. It’s thanks to her that his legacy is being given such vibrant expression here at Cornell.”