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Carl Sagan – ‘A Glorious Dawn’

By Shamus
on Saturday Feb 13, 2010
Filed under:


Only after about a thousand people emailed and commented saying I should link this:

Link (YouTube)

It’s amazing work. It’s a great collection of Sagan quotes and observations, and it stands on its own as a piece of music.

And because they didn’t work it into the song:

Billions and billions.

Comments (42)

  1. OEP says:


    This is the website of the folks that put that together. It is an interesting use of the tonal adjustment technology.

    The quote you are looking for is in the second song “We are all connected”.


  2. Katesickle says:

    Very cool video.

  3. Scrittah says:

    http://colorpulsemusic.com/ is the ambient/electronic project these guys put together before Symphony of Science. Definitely worth a listen.

  4. Bear says:

    Nice effort, but pitch benders make my ears BLEED!

    Why not try some science songs that are made by people who actually can sing?

    Such as…. http://acme.com/jef/singing_science/

  5. Eric says:

    That was the Awesome, Shamus.

  6. Frac says:

    A little trivia – the reason they never worked in “billions and billions” is probably because Carl never said it. It caught on when Johnny Carson did in a Sagan skit.

    • Susie Day says:

      A little more trivia – I ran into this quote:

      I never said it. Honest. Oh, I said there are maybe 100 billion galaxies and 10 billion trillion stars. It’s hard to talk about the Cosmos without using big numbers. I said ‘billion’ many times on the Cosmos television series, which was seen by a great many people. But I never said ‘billions and billions.’ For one thing, it’s imprecise. How many billions are ‘billions and billions’? A few billion? Twenty billion? A hundred billion? ‘Billions and billions’ is pretty vague… For a while, out of childish pique, I wouldn’t utter the phrase, even when asked to. But I’ve gotten over that. So, for the record, here it goes: ‘Billions and billions.’

  7. The reason why the song doesn’t use the line “Billions and billions” is that Carl Sagan himself never actually said it in Cosmos. It came from a Tonight Show parody of him (based on his distinctive pronunciation of “billions”, to distinguish it from “millions”). EDIT: Beaten to it.

    But yes, I love this video. If you check the creator’s other videos he has a few more songs featuring Carl and a bunch of other scientists.

  8. Sesoron says:

    I like the fourth one, where Jane Goodall is bent into a neat little pentatonic. “It’s a very wuzzy line and it’s getting wuzzier all the time.” And, of course, Neil deGrasse Tyson: “I know that the molecules in my body are traceable to phenomena in the cosmos. That makes me want to grab people on the street and say, ‘Have you heard this?!'”

    Edit: Yes, I know that Neil was in the second one and a second reading of my comment makes me realize it was ambiguous. No need to drop any pedantry on that point.

  9. RustyBadger says:

    Those are great videos. I actually found the “We Are All Connected” one first and it’s still my favourite. “We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself” indeed!

  10. Twosday says:

    I always wondered what Carl Sagan would think of Mass Effect.

    • Shamus says:

      He’d like the original but complain about how the sequel was too shooter-focused.

      (I kid.)

    • midget0nstilts says:

      [Insert joke about CS being a marijuana user and WoW/EverQuest/Magic: The Gathering being like crack here.]

    • Jeff says:

      Probably think questionably of the idea that most of the other aliens are humanoid bipeds.

      • Simulated Knave says:

        They’re not. There’s quadrupeds and floating jellyfish. And some insectoids.

        • Jeff says:

          Asari, Turians, Salarians, Drell, Krogan, Volus, Batarians, Quarians… that’s a lot of humanoid aliens (to a greater or lesser degree)

          vs Hanar, Elcor, Keepers, Collectors.

          I say again, most of the other aliens are humanoid bipeds.

          • Robyrt says:

            You forgot vorcha (humanoid) and rachni (nonhuman), but yeah, there are an awful lot of races you can animate with a human skeleton. It’s a lot easier to give them emotions, for one thing.

            I would like to see a four-legged alien race, though – if the elcor can acquire technology, it shouldn’t be that hard for say a race of aardvarks with prehensile tongues who communicate via separate organs on the throat so they can talk while they work.

    • nilus says:

      Honestly I think a lot of the science in Mass Effect is pretty solid. He might dig it. Also there are a lot of Physic jokes going on in the background.

      I heard someone make comment about how the Asari are blue shifting and the I feel the need to listen to the marine in citadel explaining how Issac Newton is the baddest mother fraker in space.

  11. Grudgeal says:

    “Makes you feel sort of… Insignificant, doesn’t it?”

    “Yeah, yeah… Can we have your liver then?”

  12. Ravens Cry says:

    I don’t have a spacesuit, but oh damn, oh damn ,I want to travel!

  13. KremlinLaptop says:

    Carl Sagan — seriously, I wish I was that cool a geek. I’m really posting just so I can go d’awwww at the fact Shamus changed the site banner to roses; very cute.

    …also I’m doing this all while alt-tabbed out of ME2 waiting for the intro to finish. Seriously, Bioware, you even advertise how I can skip stuff with my wonderful space bar button (Which by the way also chooses dialogue options. Wanna punch a reporter in the sto– Whoops! Too late! You already did it!).

    Edit: double minus sign actually makes a proper dash? — woah! NEAT. It’s the little things that impress me. Whee. — — —

  14. RTBones says:

    Great video. As for Mr. Sagan, wish I had that kind of geek-cred. Fantastic mind, he had.

    As for the banner…the first thing I thought was not “d’awww” but, “Eeevv-ry rose has its thorn….”

  15. Rick says:

    Since there are no words to describe how awesome this is:


  16. Mephane says:

    Shamus, I thank you for showing me this. It is a wonderful piece of art.

  17. Low-Level DM says:

    A fabulous piece of work. I actually hadn’t seen this before, but it’s very good, as far as such things go. Very awesome and very appropriate.

  18. Zaghadka says:

    Seen this one already, but spread the word, brother. Good link.

    • krellen says:

      I think We Are All Connected is the best of the series. It’s just full of people who love science, and have the energy and joy to convey that love in their words. Even pitch-moded.

  19. Nicos Amblecrown says:

    Pretty cool, but am I the only one who thinks the tuner makes him sound a little like Kermit?

  20. Merle says:

    I’m usually not a fan of pitch-changing, but for Sagan I will make an exception.

    This does make me want to listen to “Pale Blue Dot” again, though.

  21. nilus says:

    I love these pieces by Symphony of Science. I have all the ones they have done on a compilation CD that we play for my son.

  22. The new one is up, The Poetry of Reality (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cd36WJ79z4). There’s less Carl Sagan this time, but it’s still good.

  23. sharon rockey says:

    Good News! John Boswell, the creator of this clip, has just been nominated for a Webby Award! Vote for him in the People’s Choice Award. Go to http://webby.aol.com/

    They will prompt you to sign up, get an email back with your activation code, and then use that to link back to the site.

    Once there, use the top link to Online Film and Video
    Next screen, click the thumbnail that says Video Remixes and Mashups
    Then vote on Carl Sagan – A Glorious Dawn – Cosmos Remixed

    Lets rally for John!

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