Carl Sagan was one of the most articulate and rational thinkers of the past 50 years. A visionary, humanist, planetary scientist and professor at Cornell University, he put considerable effort into communicating the knowledge and implications of scientific revelation to the general public. On issues from science, public and foreign policy, and informed religious belief, he was an important voice for mankind. Indeed, when in my previous post I declared that technocrats should be the ones setting policy, I was referring to men such as him. His public television series 'Cosmos' should be required viewing.
He died 10 years ago.
Incidentally, most of his public writing was shaped by his regular use of cannabis. While he remained private about this issue during his life so as not to detract from his important public message, he anonymously advocated very strongly for its legalisation and responsible use.
Recently, his wife was interviewed recently by Ira Flatow on NPR Science Friday. This is an archived interview of Carl Sagan himself with Flatow from 1994 which I highly recommend.
My good friend Timothy recently posted about Sagan as well.