Cornell University’s Institute for Pale Blue Dots has announced that it has renamed itself as a tribute to the great cosmologist and science communicator Carl Sagan.
The decision makes sense on multiple levels as not only is the institute dedication to Sagan’s memory long overdue, but it’s primary objective is to find alien life in the universe.
The institute’s new name will be the Carl Sagan Institute: Pale Blue Dots and Beyond. The announcement was made by Sagan’s widow and fellow science author Ann Druyan, who said:
There’s a meta quality to this day. Honoring Carl by empowering interdisciplinary scientists to search for the answers to his most passionate scientific questioning, seeking to share that understanding with the public and finding in that knowledge applications to life-threatening dangers here on Earth — that’s a multileveled and highly accurate reflection of who Carl was. From the moment I first met astrophysicist Lisa Kaltenegger, the Carl Sagan Institute’s founding director, I recognized one of Carl’s kindred. It’s thanks to her that his legacy is being given such vibrant expression here at Cornell.
Fox Rio 2 indicated in a report that the renaming idea was floated by Druyan herself and it was instantly accepted by the institute’s founder and astrophysicist Lisa Kaltenegger, who later said:
She’s such an amazing person; I’d never met her before. And [talking to the students] she said, ‘You know what? If Carl was alive, this is what he would love to do.’ And then, she turned around and said, ‘Would you mind naming it after Carl Sagan? This is exactly his vision that you’re bringing to life here.’ And there was kind of a pause, and I said, ‘No, I wouldn’t mind.’ I was a little bit blown away. She said she was saving the name for something. And I was like, ‘Wow.’
According to Yahoo News, the new-Carl Sagan Institute provides a platform for researchers from different backgrounds and disciplines to search for extraterrestrial life in the cosmos.
Sagan was associated with Cornell University from 1968 until his death in 1996.