Cosmos: Carl Sagan
Collector's Edition, Collector's
DVD | Box Set
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Astronomer Carl Sagan's landmark 13-part science series takes you on an awe-inspiring cosmic journey to the edge of the Universe and back aboard the spaceship of the imagination. Topics covered include: the 15-billion year history of the Universe; the evolution of life on Earth and what forms life might take on other worlds; Johannes Kepler, the first modern astronomer; the hellish atmosphere of Venus and the threat of the Greenhouse Effect on Earth; the search for life on Mars; the 17th century exploration of the Earth; the Voyager missions to Jupiter and Saturn; the possibility of time travel; Einstein's theories; the life cycle of stars; determining the origin of the Universe; the brain and the evolution of intelligence; how we might communicate with alien civilizations; the continued survival of the human race versus the threat of nuclear destruction.
When Cosmos was first broadcast in 1980, our world--and the context of Carl Sagan's eloquent "personal journey"--was a different place. The late Dr. Sagan would be pleased to witness the cooling of the Cold War, the continued exploration of space, and ongoing efforts to curb our destructive dependence on fossil fuels. For Sagan's series is far more than a guided tour through "billions and billions" of stars and galaxies. It remains a profound plea for the unity of humankind, for the recognition that "we are a way for the universe to know itself," with an obligation to know our origin, our place in the universe, and our future potential.
In the course of 13 fascinating hours, Cosmos spans its own galaxy of topics to serve Sagan's theme, each segment deepening our understanding of how we got from there (simple microbes in the primordial mud) to here (space-faring civilization in the 21st century). In his "ship of the imagination," Sagan guides us to the farthest reaches of space and takes us back into the history of scientific inquiry, from the ancient library of Alexandria to the NASA probes of our neighboring planets. Upon this vast canvas Sagan presents the "cosmic calendar," placing the 15-billion-year history of the universe into an accessible one-year framework, then filling it with a stunning chronology of events, both interstellar and earthbound.
From the lives of the stars to creation theories, functions of the human brain, and the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence, Cosmos asks big questions. When appropriate, Sagan offers big answers, or asks still bigger--and yes, even spiritual--questions at the boundaries of science and religion. What's most remarkable about Cosmos is that it remains almost entirely fresh, with few updates needed to the science that Sagan so passionately celebrates. It is no exaggeration to say that Cosmos--for all the debate it may continue to provoke--is a vital document for humanity at a pivotal crossroads of our history. --Jeff Shannon
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In the cosmic perspective, humans are inconsequential, a thin film of life on an obscure and solitary lump of rock and metal. We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever. But we are, every one of us, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.
Back on topic, however, considering the incredible speed at which science evolves, it is simply amazing that Cosmos is still relevant in this day and age. This fact alone gives Cosmos a five star rating! This discounts Carl Sagan's natural ability to inspire his audience, and if I could I'd give Cosmos an extra star or two.
I'd continue, but there are already enough reviews of this outstanding product!
There is a review that stated that this is a science as a religion infomercial, and that is one of the dumbest things i have ever read.
that aside, this series isn't just about facts, its about learning how to think and why learning is enjoyable. this series explores how scientist work, the rigors of fact checking, the failures and consequences when those safeguards are uprooted, and the joy of actually coming to know the universe.
a few of the first words mentioned in this film state to view it with imagination but skepticism, then later that even wrong ideas should not be suppressed but understood why is wrong. he explains the scientific method. sagan also discusses why concepts like ignorance, hasty conclusions(such as religions) and academic dishonesty are unacceptable if we wish to progress as a species.
don't misunderstand, this program is not an atheist commercial, far from it, its a quest for truth. he seems to have wished to share a love for learning and awe of the universe, whether that includes a creator or not. but to search for such answers truthfully, without bias, and to not use our knowledge for self destructive desires.
if someone is looking for very technical data on science, then they are wrong, if they are expecting the latest discoveries, then no. that does not mean the information is wrong, just the questions it posed may have been answered, or even proven wrong.
the video transfer is something to be desired. in most parts mine was very clear, but occasionally it would become extremely grainy. this series definitely needs an overhaul. not a george lucas type where all the outdated special effects are replaced, but just the overall quality of clarity buffed.
there are sagan updates from years after the film was released.
overall this is a masterpiece. if nothing else, this is a film about developing a love of knowledge. this is a slow but very beautiful set of episodes. he covers beautiful concepts of scientist producing basic elements of life, the various history of science, and why these things concern us, thus making it personal. to see the stars in their full splendor truly shows how minute we are and vast the universe really is.
The re-boot Cosmos is also fantastic and will probably touch kids more just by looking new.