One of my son's professors is...

Nick Sagan, son of Carl. He teaches screenwriting at Ithaca College. Our son isn’t old enough to think of Carl Sagan as a household name, but it recently dawned on him there might be a connection. Sure enough…

That’s pretty spiffy. Surprised no one commented on this. It’s a lot better than my best friend in high school telling me how Jerry Springer used to be married to one of her aunts. (Apparently he’s a really nasty person.) Or my dude saying he caught a glimpse of Danny DeVito once and he was a lot rounder than one would think.

Your story is more akin to your kid being able to talk to someone who intimately knew Einstein. But, it’s Carl Sagan. Neato.

What are the odds? Billllions to one. :smiley:


Cool. I went to Cornell in the early 1970s and saw Sagan lecture in person. He was amazing. Interesting that his son is a lecturer at Ithaca College across the way.

(Also at Cornell, one of my dorm mates was Superman Christopher Reeve. And I once had dinner at the dorm with Aaron Copeland.)

Very cool. Do you have any idea what sort of screenwriting he teaches? Fiction? Documentaries?

I can see where his father’s activities could have led him to pursue screenwriting. Of course children often pursue their own interests independently of their parents.

I dunno, being related to someone famous doesn’t seem like much of a reason to think better or worse of someone.

But even though I object on principle, it does seem sort of cool to me, for two reasons: (1) I knew a neighbor of Carl Sagan’s years ago, and she said he was a really neat guy; and (2) I recently became friends with a relative of Mandy Patinkin (the physical resemblance is pretty clear), and while I acknowledge it isn’t important on any level, it’s sorta cute.

Nick’s voice was recorded on the NASA Voyager probes Golden Record. Having a professor whose words “greetings from the children of Earth” are now hurtling through interstellar space (the first man-made object to leave the solar system) is pretty cool.

Nick? Did you mean Carl?

Nope. It was Nick’s voice, recorded when he was six.

It was Nick. He was six at the time.

Nice. I like his novels, especially Idlewild.

The judge at my workman’s comp hearing is the sister of Dr Joyce Brothers. I’m nearly famous by association.

That’s awesome. Ignorance fought, thanks!

That is really cool. Sometimes being our brushes with fame are very cool. From my experiences with seeing and meeting famous people, I can understand why so many live in NYC. There everyone (well locals) just pretend to ignore famous people and let them go about their lives. But hiding in the open like Sagan Jr. is another approach!

I had a friend in college who had a Mr. Friedman who was her dad’s friend and would come to dinner at her house as a child several times a year. She didn’t think much of it until college where she kept hearing about this Milton Friedman guy and commented to her parents about this famous guy having the same name as their friend, Mr. Friedman. We still give her a hard time about it 20 years later.

My favorite professor in college was historian Alan Brinkley, the son of newscaster David Brinkley (at the time David Brinkley was still hosting This Week with David Brinkley).

I also once took a class with Milton Friedman, which is not as cool as having him over for dinner with your family.

The son of one of my coworkers is friends with the son of Joel Hodgson, the guy who created MST3K. In fact, coworker and son are going to a show tonight at the Keswick created by Joel.

Huh, there you go, I read that years ago but didn’t realise the author was Carl Sagan’s son. And yes it was a pretty decent novel.

A coworker, upon hearing my news tidbit, told me that Heidi Fleiss’ dad was her pediatrician.

A soundbite of Carl Sagan saying, “Hello from the middle-aged men of Earth” wouldn’t have the same impact as his 6 yo kid’s recording.

Nearly as impressive as the distance the Golden Record has traveled (and continues to travel) is the length of time (if all goes well) the recording is predicted (by some smart physicists) to remain playable: >1 billion years.

Heck, my photos from just a few decades ago are already fading. The octopus-aliens from the far side of the Milky Way will never see a head-shot of me—that’s just sad. They may, however, hear Chuck Berry, Beethoven’s 5th, Carl Sagan’s kid and a variety of other Earth sounds and graphics. So, that’s good.

I believe the chance of the Golden Record being discovered and played by an alien species is exceedingly unlikely, even if our galaxy/galaxy cluster/universe/multiverse … is peppered with intelligent lifeforms. Due to the vastness of time and space, it would be the ultimate “needle in a haystack.

But, in a way, this futility makes me even *more *proud to be human. We humans will invest considerable time, brainpower and money to “throw a message-in-a-bottle into the ocean” on the off-chance that someone, somewhere will ever read it. We have an innate desire to extend our boundaries and make contact with others, regardless of the odds and potential consequences.

It’s like playing the lottery: your odds of winning mega millions of dollars are millions-to-one if you play—a fool’s gambit. But, if you don’t play, your odds of winning are zero. It’s good to play the fool once in a while. It’s what makes us transcend the ordinary.

I think we goofed up etching graphics of a nude man and woman on the Golden Record plaque, however. The thought of some slimy outer-space creature masturbating to our likenesses is disconcerting to say the least. :smiley: