Letter: In defense of Sagan
To Ayn Whytemare, who wrote the article “Climate change for beginners” in the July 13 Sunday Monitor: Please, before disparaging real scientists, do your homework.
I was appalled when I read “Carl Sagan (more philosopher than scientist)” and that his predictions were “rudimentary and completely wrong” and were “followed by real scientists’ proposal(s).”
For the record, Sagan had a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics, lectured and did research at Harvard University, became a full professor at Cornell in 1971, and directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies there; was associate director of the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research there; worked as an adviser to NASA, which included briefing the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the moon; and was central to the discovery of the high surface temperatures on Venus.
He also contributed to the first Mariner missions to Venus, was among the first to hypothesize that Saturn’s moon Titan might possess oceans of liquid compounds on its surface and that Jupiter’s moon Europa might possess subsurface oceans of water, and contributed insights regarding the atmospheres of Venus and Jupiter as well as seasonal changes on Mars.
He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books.
You, on the other hand, own an organic farm, teach a course at a two-year community college and don’t publish your qualifications. Sagan was the “real deal.” You are not. Please don’t go around disparaging real scientists any more or pretending to be one yourself.