Carl Sagan Day

Carl Sagan Day: A Celebration of Astronomy
WHEN: Saturday, November 7, 2009 noon – 10:00 pm
WHERE: Broward College Central Campus 3501 SW Davie Rd., Davie 33314
SPONSORED BY: The Center for Inquiry Fort Lauderdale, FLASH, the James Randi Educational Foundation, and Broward College

WHY: Carl Sagan was a Professor of Astronomy and Space Science and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He served as an advisor and consultant to NASA, and played a major role in the establishment of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). He was a Pulitzer Prize winning author and most familiar to the public through his COSMOS series on NOVA. In addition to numerous awards, recognitions and honorary degrees for his outstanding contributions, he is acknowledged as one of the most effective public faces of astronomy and space science throughout the world. Asteroid 2709 was named after him. Sagan died in December 1996.

To celebrate his legacy on the 75th anniversary of his birth, and to increase public involvement in the excitement of astronomy and space exploration, a local coalition of science and reason-based organizations announces the FIRST ANNUAL CARL SAGAN DAY. It is particularly fitting that we celebrate this great scientist in 2009, the International Year of Astronomy.

We  hope not only to make Carl Sagan Day an annual event, but to have other groups celebrate this day each year. We hope to have November 9 (his birthday) officially designated at CARL SAGAN DAY.

WHAT: A full day program, including teacher workshops, children’s activities, showings of the COSMOS series episodes, food, magic shows, displays, planetarium programs, telescope workshops, games, door prizes, star-gazing, and many surprises. Scheduled keynote speakers include James Randi, Dr. Phil Plait (the bad astronomer), and David Morrison (Senior Scientist at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute and former student of Sagan’s). These speakers as well as science faculty from local colleges and universities will also be available for small group discussions.

The event is free to all*. Final details, including the schedule of events and speakers, will be available at the event website, A fund-raising pre-event dinner and reception will take place on Friday evening, November 6 on Broward College’s South Campus in Pembroke Pines.

Contact Dr. Jeanette Madea at or 954-345-1181 for further information. More information will be available at

*There will be a reduced admission fee to the planetarium programs.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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4 Responses to Carl Sagan Day

  1. Ryan says:

    For some reason, the images are not loading at the .org domain. However, seems to be working fine.

    Teachers in Broward, Miami Dade, and Palm Beach… Come on out for some exciting teacher workshops. You should all be receiving an email shortly from your district supervisors.

  2. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Report on the First Annual Carl Sagan Day

    Summary: If you weren’t there, you missed a great day celebrating science. The event was very well done, the speakers were entertaining and informative, and
    * Florida Citizens for Science * should be at such events with literature.

    Who are our members in the Fort Lauderdale area? Speak up!

    The event was held at and sponsored in part by Broward Community College (BCC). It was in commemoration of Carl Sagan and also about astronomy and the space program generally. Regarding Sagan, I was reminded or learned for the first time that the was (in addition to being an astronomer) probably the leading public intellectual of his time. Early in his career as an astronomer he started planetary science (which we now take for granted) and correctly explained the high temperatures on Venus as due the the greenhouse effect of its atmosphere. Later he worked out a serious downside of nuclear war as it was then envisioned: all the soot and haze in our atmosphere would bring on nuclear winter, so no one escapes. This helped reduce major governments’ enthusiasm for nuclear destruction and made all of us safer. Of course there was much more than this about him during the day.

    Answering a question about the sad state of science education in the USA today, Phil Plait (The Bad Astronomer) said “Get out and talk it up! That’s what I do. This stuff is amazing!”

    The last speaker was The Amazing Randi. Fortunately Randi, who knew Carl Sagan well, did not at 62 as Carl did. Unfortunately Randi is no longer young and is taking chemotherapy for cancer. He is still a very engaging speaker.

    In addition to food and books on sale there were tables with literature. FCS probably could have participated and also had our logo included on the T shirt, probably for some cost. (The speakers must have cost the organizers good money).

  3. Thanks for the great comments about our event! We WILL make it an annual event. We were fortunate to have such great groups to partner with, including Broward College (where I teach chemistry), FLASH (Florida Atheists and Secular Humanists), the James Randi Education Foundation, as well as student groups, including a CFI-On Campus group at Broward College and a freethought group at Florida Atlantic University.

    The weather was perfect, the turnout was wonderful, and the slate of speakers outstanding! It was a lot of work and we learned how we can incorporate even more groups (such as Florida Citizens for Science) and mechanisms for getting the word out.

    Our next event is helping with a CampQuest here in South Florida, a week-long skeptical, critical thinking camp for youths from 8 to 18. It starts on Dec. 25 and goes through Jan. 1. James Randi plans to be a part of that. Also included will be a trip to Key Largo for a day of snorkeling, etc. Our local FLASH group is working with the Humanists of Florida to make this great opportunity happen. Check it out if you have or know children in that age group.

    After that our Fourth Annual Darwin Day in south Florida will take place on a Saturday near February 12…details not yet confirmed. Come on down for that! We welcome help and ideas from all. Check out our activities at or

    Thank you.

    Jeanette Madea
    Chair, Carl Sagan Day Committee
    Chair, CFI Fort Lauderdale

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