Monday, July 20, 2009

Carl Sagan

The Lab Lemming ponders on whether Carl Sagan was really "all that". He fails to see it, and so do I. I grew up watching NOVA, Nature, and Wild Kingdom, not so with Cosmos. I opined as follows:
I'm not sure there will ever be one single individual who will be universally cited for inspiring a generation to seriously consider scientific pursuits.

Interestingly enough, today the US is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. One would think that projects such as this, and not single individuals, would be more suited as inspirational devices.

The problem is, when will we have our next "scientific revolution"? The economy and political state of the world, clearly seem to be hampering such endeavors at the present time.
So, do we need an "individual" or is the "project" more important? To me it seems that projects can capture the countries/worlds imagination more aptly than any single individual can.


Isabel said...

Funny that LL mentions Steve Irwin as a possible candidate, as your post made me think of another Irwin, also influential through pretty tacky TV escapades.

Irwin Allen, creator of shows like Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and other 1960's sci-fi shows aimed at children, is actually credited by many NASA astronomers with inspiring them to become scientists.

Sadly, there don't seem to be any similar relatively high-budget, imagination-stimulating science related TV shows being made for kids today. The 'tacky' fantasy adventure focus seems necessary for the show to have a really broad, universal appeal, which I.A. seemed to intuitively understand. Plus the entertainment markets are probably too splintered now.

Thomas Joseph said...

Thanks for stopping by Isabel. I think you're right in regards to the markets being so splintered. There is so much competition for viewers attention nowadays that I think companies have essentially conceded certain segments to cable without much of a fight. If it's not prime time television, it doesn't matter. That means afternoon programming is a wasteland of bad programming (because I don't see much worthwhile coming out of cable either).

I would expect more out of the SciFi (I think it's ScyFy now, or something stupid like that) channel, but it seems their demographic is geared more towards adults ... and most of their programs suck too. It's a shame really. My wife and I cut out cable down to the bare basic package. We get the local channels and that's about it (except we get Disney and FoxNews too ... which I guess is considered "basic service" here). This has helped me re-find public television. NOVA and Nature are still as good as they always were.