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Cosmos: Carl Sagan
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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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As the march of science and space exploration quickly debunks and challenges previous notions, the original "Cosmos" series is somewhat dated even despite the 10 year "updates". Even so, there is so much here that is still relevant to our understanding of space and our place in it. Sagan's passionate appeal to the situation of global warming is especially prophetic.
As some reviewers have mentioned, the transfer is sub-par, with a sometimes grainy image. Even so, I'm quite satisfied with this item. I paid about $50 for it new not including tax and shipping fees.
Carl’s Sagan’s sage explanations of the universe, how it works, along with the many scientists and philosophers he covered gave clarity to an often enigmatic subject.
Most chilling was Carl’s prophetic warnings about global warming back in 1980, which sadly little has been done in the nearly 40 years since then. The ignorance that overshadowed his wisdom is akin to the ignorance of the ancient Greek mystics, like Plato and others, who overshadowed and quashed the more brilliant Ionian and Milesian minds who preceded them, such as Anaximander, Thales, and the true geniuses of the scientific method. It’s mind-boggling how humankind has stymied itself by thousands of years out of sheer stupidity.
On a more positive note, since Carl was indeed an optimist, his enthusiasm for the advances science had made in his lifetime (such as the Apollo and space probe missions, and the burgeoning computer revolution at that time) was contagious and inspirational. His dreams and expectations for the future serve as a blueprint and roadmap that can lead humankind into a luminous stellar future...if we are wise enough to follow Sagan’s sage advice.
Top international reviews
Newer documentaries are very trashy, but Sagan was an exelent teacher and knew how to interest the people for science without making a crash-boom.bang-show.
This edition of the 13-part COSMOS series was released in 2002 and contains some new simulations and pictures from the Voyager-mission which were not included in 1980.
Personally, i like that edition more than that one from 2009.
The DVD-case is much better (But You need a big table to unfold it!) and there is an index, which is missing in the 2009 edition.
At least i have to say: It's nice to see COSMOS after all those years again and it is each Cent worth.
No, this is about the quality of the transfer, sound and picture, to this European version, which is NOT the one so gloriously shown by Amazon. A quick search based on the EAN number soon finds this copy. An Amazon search lands you back here.
The picture: This is something of an extreme going from very vibrant, sharp and clear images to extremely pixelated, evidence of extreme compression? This is very evident in the first programme and at times is a distraction as it is extremely prominent, so those with Hi-Def players and screens are going to notice this! At other times the image is very soft, which granted this is a 25+ year old TV programme, showing signs of chromatic aberration. It is also not helped by image artefacts from the transfer equipment being present. So far the quality ranges from good to bad.
The sound: The sound quality is crisp and clear, the result of remixing? However at times, particularly when listened to as 5.1 mix, the music does have a tendency to dominate and drown the narration. Personally it should be there to support, not dominate.
So far this review is based on the first 5 episode, and as such I’ll review and update this.
Last but not least, the series covers different enough subjects and scientists' lives vs the 2014 Cosmos that I see both as complementing each other rather well, with only maybe a 20-25% overlap.
Imperdible serie y tampoco se pueden perder las nuevas temporadas con Neil DeGrass Tyson