55: The Many Worlds of Ann Druyan: Matriarch of the Cosmos


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Ann Druyan has brought the universe to millions around the world. The wife of the late Carl Sagan, Ann is a renowned science communicator and producer/writer and co-creator of the upcoming series Cosmos: Possible Worlds. She is the author of the companion book of the same name. 

She is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning writer and producer. She co-created and wrote the 1980 TV series Cosmos with Carl Sagan, whom she later married. She also co-created, wrote, produced, and directed the follow up series, 2014’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and 2020’s Cosmos: Possible Worlds. She was also creative director for NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Message Project and her brain waves are part of the golden record that has traveled outside our solar system.

Druyan discusses her fascinating voyage through the most mysterious phenomena in the cosmos. We discuss her family’s remarkable role as science ambassadors including not only her marriage to Carl Sagan, but her remarkable daughter Sasha Sagan who is continuing their role as the First Family of the Cosmos!

Ann talked about her and Carl’s collaboration on the original Cosmos series, their multiple books, and Voyager’s famous golden record. She also shares lessons on love, parenthood, and the importance of science communication. 

In addition to her award-winning writing and directing, she has an asteroid named after her, 4970 Druyan (which is in companion orbit with asteroid 2709 Sagan). 

Her brain waves were recorded onto Voyager’s golden record that is traveling outside our solar system. In fact, she is the first guest on INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE who can say she already has a billion year time capsule in response to my standard question about monoliths! Five billion years, in fact, as that’s how long the golden record was designed to last. 

00:07:37  Ann Druyan has brought science to millions.
00:15:42  Druyan and Sagan’s love is part of the Voyager recordings.
00:23:59  Kids are a possible world.
00:36:18  The influence of Harold Urey and Gerard Kuiper on Carl Sagan.
00:50:23  Sixty years of SETI is only the beginning.
00:57:10  Does Ann Druyan question her secular beliefs?
01:03:30  What ethical will does Druyan plan to leave behind?
01:06:36  What object or knowledge would Druyan put in or on her monolith? 
01:09:36  What did Druyan think was impossible until she did it?

Buy Druyan’s latest book, a companion piece to the new series Cosmos: Possible Worlds here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1426219083/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_WcncFbVD9P261

Watch Sasha Sagan’s interview on INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE here:
https://youtu.be/iFHL3IkK9Rg

Watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014) on Disney+
https://www.disneyplus.com/series/cosmos-a-spacetime-odyssey/3AAcsJhhmU10

Watch Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980) on YouTube 
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXKLYIH9Cw8ucAR-L0qiujSyZuI0_cqIM

Into The Impossible is a Production of the Arthur C. Clarke Center For Human Imagination.

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Our four areas of exploration are:

  1.      The neuroscience of imagination
  2.      Science fiction and speculative culture
  3.      Space and the cosmos
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  • Co-Director, Brian Keating
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