(YouTube video: ComiCon trailer for "COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey," a
13-part docu-series debuting in 2014 on FOX.)
The original 13-part Cosmos: A Personal Voyage first aired in
1980 on the Public Broadcasting System, and was hosted by Carl Sagan.
The show has been considered highly significant since its broadcast;
Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times described it as "a watershed moment
for science-themed television programming". The show has been watched by
at least 400 million people across 60 different countries.
Following Sagan's death in 1996, his widow Ann Druyan, the co-creator of
the original Cosmos series along with Steven Soter, a producer from the
series, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, sought to create a new
version of the series, aimed to appeal to as wide an audience as
possible and not just to those interested in the sciences. They had
struggled for years with reluctant television networks that failed to
see the broad appeal of the show.
Seth MacFarlane had met Druyan through Tyson at the 2008 kickoff event
for the Science and Entertainment Exchange, a new LA office of the
National Academy of Sciences, designed to connect Hollywood writers and
directors with scientists. A year later, at a 2009 lunch in NYC with
Tyson, MacFarlane learned of their interest to recreate Cosmos. He was
influenced by Cosmos as a child, believing that Cosmos served to
"[bridge] the gap between the academic community and the general
public". MacFarlane had considered that the reduction of effort for
space travel in recent decades to be part of "our culture of lethargy".
MacFarlane, who has several animated shows on the Fox Network, was able
to bring Druyan to meet the heads of Fox programming, Peter Rice and
Kevin Reilly, and helped to get the greenlighting of the show.
MacFarlane admits that he is "the least essential person in this
equation" and the effort is a departure from work he's done before, but
considers this to be "very comfortable territory for [himself]
personally". He and Druyan have become close friends, and Druyan stated
that she believed that Sagan and MacFarlane would have been "kindred
spirits" with their respective "protean talents".
Dr. Neil deGrasse
Tyson (b. October 5, 1958) is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the
Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History and
Visiting Research Scientist and Lecturer at Princeton University. Click
for full bio.
(YouTube video: Neil deGrasse Tyson debunks the 2012 Mayan calendar
As your area of knowledge increases, so does your perimeter of ignorance.
Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded
than encouraging people who have not.
Dinosaurs are extinct today because they lacked opposable thumbs and the
brainpower to build a space program.
I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world
than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of
others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.
I simply go with what works. And what works is the healthy skepticism
embodied in the scientific method. Believe me, if the Bible had ever
been shown to be a rich source of scientific answers and enlightenment,
we would be mining it daily for cosmic discovery.
I would request that my body in death be buried not cremated, so that
the energy content contained within it gets returned to the earth, so
that flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined upon flora
and fauna during my lifetime.
If aliens did visit us, I'd be embarrassed to tell them we still dig
fossil fuels from the ground as a source of energy.
If all that you see, do, measure and discover is the will of a deity,
then ideas can never be proven wrong, you have no predictive power, and
you are at a loss to understand the principles behind most of the
fundamental interconnections of nature.
If pizza sizes were given in area not diameter, you'd see instantly that
a seven inch is less than half the size of a ten inch pie
If scientists invented the legal system, eyewitness testimony would be
In modern times, if the sole measure of what's out there flows from your
five senses then a precarious life awaits you.
My view is that if your philosophy is not unsettled daily then you are
blind to all the universe has to offer.
Not only are we in the universe, the universe is in us. I don't know of
any deeper spiritual feeling than what that brings upon me.
Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us.
People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey
schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not
scientific and that Noah's ark carried dinosaurs. This case is not about
the need to separate church and state; it's about the need to separate
ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers.
Science is a philosophy of discovery. Intelligent design is a philosophy
Scientific inquiry shouldn't stop just because a reasonable explanation
has apparently been found.
Seventy percent of Earth's surface is water and over 99 percent is
uninhabited, so you would expect nearly all impactors to hit either the
ocean or desolate regions on Earth's surface. So why do movie meteors
have such good aim?
So what is true for life itself is no less true for the universe:
knowing where you came from is no less important than knowing where you
The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in
their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy,
billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to
every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to
all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in
the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.
The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you
believe in it.
The more I learn about the universe, the less convinced I am that
there's any sort of benevolent force that has anything to do with it, at
The remarkable feature of physical laws is that they apply everywhere,
whether or not you choose to believe in them. After the laws of physics,
everything else is opinion.
There is no shame in not knowing. The problem arises when irrational
thought and attendant behavior fill the vacuum left by ignorance.
We fail in even the simplest of all scientific observations- nobody
looks up anymore.
We spend the first year of children's lives teaching them how to walk
and talk, and the rest of their lives telling them to shut up and sit
When scientifically investigating the natural world, the only thing
worse than a blind believer is a seeing denier.
Whenever people have used religious documents to make accurate
predictions about our base knowledge of the physical world, they have
been famously wrong.
Within one linear centimeter of your lower colon there lives and works
more bacteria (about 100 billion) than all humans who have ever been
born. Yet many people continue to assert that it is we who are in charge
of the world.
You don't take a dead cat to the vet. I mean you might, but why?