Georgia Institute of Technology Carl Sagan Speech Analysis Podcast Paper

Question Description

Carl Sagan was one of the most well

known advocates of


a scientific understanding

of the Universe

to better appreciate

the beauty and fragility of our existence on a habitable

planet. In 1990 he was invited to deliver the Keynote Lecture at the 5


Emerging Issues

Forum, organized by the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University.

You can

link to the lecture



Please watch the lecture [

the fellow with the objectively spectacular eyebrows wraps up

his intro at around 6:12 in the video

], and reflect on it in light of the ideas and questions


have been exploring in class. Then write at least 1 page (


spaced, Times New

Roman, 12

point font, 1

inch margins

) on your reflections. In particular:

Do you agree or disagree with Sagan’s arguments regarding the importance

of scientific literacy a

mongst the general public?

What are the “lessons” that can be taken from Earth’s nearest neighbors in

the solar system? How do these lessons relate to recent or ongoing

challenges facing the human species?

This lecture was delivered over a quarter centu

ry ago. What are some of the

predicted outcomes of increasing atmospheric CO


that Sagan outlines?

How many of these continue to be issues moving forward?

What is the geopolitical analogy Sagan makes to argue that climate change

should be addressed aggr

essively even if one considers it a remote

contingency? Do you buy this analogy? Why or why not?

What are some of the potential mitigation strategies

for dealing with these


that Sagan suggests? Do you agree with his assessment of the


and drawbacks of these approaches?

The above questions are only meant as suggestions to catalyze your thinking, but any

substantive thoughts that you have in response to the lecture and how it relates to either

the course material or your own experience

would be fully appropriate. Please feel free to

discuss your ideas about the lecture with others [indeed…I would love it if you did!], but

your response should be original and

written in your own words

. Copying from each

other or from other sources

will not be tolerated.

The writing assignments will be graded based on the following criteria:


format (length, spacing, etc.)


science content




to the course materials, etc



overall content


thoughtfulness of discussion


assignment will be due via submission to Canvas by 11:59pm (EST) on

Tuesday, December 3.

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