The "Sagan Effect"

With Cosmos, Sagan sought to put an end to the fear and to inspire the kind of wonder Hubble's lectures had inspired in the 1930s and 1940s and the Moon landing had inspired in 1969. The series was enormously successful. For the first time since Hubble, a huge audience was engaged in exploring the grand questions of life, nature, the structure of the uni¬ verse, mythology, and what it might all mean, how it might all fit together, the mystery of it all. It examined how our search for meaning through science and our accumulation of observations and knowledge were the grandest of all human quests.

The show was seen by an estimated five hundred million people, then about a ninth of the world's population, in sixty countries, nearly as many as the Moon landing—an enormous viewership for the time, and by far the largest for any science show ever. And yet Sagan was later denied admission to the National Academy of Sciences by his peers, who voted against his nomination on the grounds that his research work as a scientist was not strong enough to justify admission^^—likely a stalking horse for the real reason: the animosity scientists felt toward Sagan's celebrity as a TV star and as a spokesman for their work. The s scientist who nominated Sagan, origins-of-life researcher Stanley Miller, described the animosity he perceived. "I can just see them saying it: 'Here's this little punk with all this publicity and Johnny Carson. I'm a ten times better scientist than that punk!'"

Following the shocking rejection, and Sagan's rejection in his bid for tenure at Harvard, scientists developed a new term—the "Sagan effect"—in which popularity with the general public was considered to be inversely proportional to the quantity and quality of one's scientific work,^^ a perception that in Sagan's case, at least, was false. He published, on average, once monthly in peer-reviewed publications over his thirty-nine-year career—a total of five hundred scientific papers.^^ More recent research suggests that all scientists who engage the public tend to be better academic performers as well.


The fact that Carl Sagan was denied tenure at Harvard because of the jealousy of his peers over his public persona.

Folksonomies: science popularization science exponent

/art and entertainment/music (0.316503)
/society/unrest and war (0.273199)
/science (0.229786)

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Science (0.958085): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Johnny Carson (0.766733): website | dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Carl Sagan (0.758116): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Moon (0.744945): dbpedia | freebase
Pseudoscience (0.644865): dbpedia | freebase
Public relations (0.590514): dbpedia | freebase
Scientific method (0.531406): dbpedia | freebase
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (0.529567): website | dbpedia | freebase

 Fool Me Twice
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Otto , Shawn Lawrence (2011-10-11), Fool Me Twice, Rodale Press, Retrieved on 2013-01-08
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  • Folksonomies: politics science