Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” speech from his book of the same name is easily one of my favorite things in the universe. The speech is in reference to an image of the Earth captured by Voyager 1 in 1990, taken from a distance of 3.7 billion miles. It shows our homeworld as little more than a speck, “suspended in a sunbeam.” Sagan’s eloquent monologue based on the image is both inspiring and humbling, demonstrating wonderfully that Sagan was often as much poet as scientist. There have been numerous video versions of Sagan’s speech floating around the internet, but the one above, assembled by Reid Gower, may be my favorite. Give it a watch and take a moment to be awestruck and appreciative for that blue dot we call home.
If anyone out there has mastered the skill of crafting catchy musical knowledge bombs that impart scientific knowledge in an entertaining way, it’s Symphony of Science’s John D. Boswell, aka melodysheep. We’ve been in love with his work ever since encountering one of his videos years ago. His Symphony of Science videos pretty much single-handedly justify the existence of autotune, allowing scientists to wax musical about the wonders of the cosmos. It’s been a while since we checked back in with SoS, but he’s been busy in the meantime. For instance, there’s this catchy tune focusing on the universe’s terrifying versions of Scylla and Charybdis — black holes.
Or this paean to natural selection…
How about a musical tribute to one of the most well-known equations ever?
Or this call to action, challenging us to look to the horizon, keep moving forward, and surmount the challenges of truly exploring our solar system and beyond.
And you can’t go wrong with a riff on Carl Sagan’s observation that we’re all made of “star stuff.”
And finally, because I’ll use any excuse at all to revisit it, one of my favorite melodysheep videos ever, featuring the wisdom and philosophy of Bill Hicks and George Carlin.