Carl Sagan discusses Cosmos, back in 1980

Saturday, March 8, 2014
The week of the 1980 debut for his now-classic science documentary, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan was in Chicago.

A young reporter named Meyerson managed to get a few minutes with him to talk about the series, his work with the then-new Planetary Society, and the then-seemingly-imminent threat of nuclear war.

As we approach the premiere of the Neil deGrasse Tyson-Seth MacFarlane reboot of Cosmos, here’s audio of my interview with Carl Sagan from Sept. 23, 1980.

Personal footnote: My first question refers to the work of the late University of Chicago Prof. Izaak Wirszup, also present that night. He holds a special place in Meyerson family history because I’d previously introduced him to the woman who’d eventually become my wife and who’d then just started at the U. of C. Law School. In his thick Polish accent, he said admiringly something I’ve repeated to her many times over the years: “You must be very schmaht.”

Personal footnote 2: Yeah, I know I sound like I have a stick up my butt. What can I say? I was young and eager to impress a guy whose work I deeply admired.