在本書中沙根應用了我們對科學、數學，及太空的知識，來探討人生的問題，及許多關於環境及我們未來的重要問題。題材之廣闊，把我們帶到智識的上空翱翔， 從棋戲的發明到火星上是否可能有生物，從週一夜的足球賽到美俄間的關係，從全球溫室效應到人工流產的辯論等等。在另一篇描述個人思潮的親切小文中，我們看 到作者內心最隱密的一面、看到他為生命而戰、看到他心愛的家庭的一面，看到他個人對死亡及上帝的觀點。
億萬又億萬的願力一九九六年十二月二十日卡爾．沙根逝世了，沙根有一雙深遂明亮的眼睛，當我再抬頭凝望億萬又億萬的星芒時，多麼希望有一對正閃爍著沙恨黠慧的眸光。他那 理性、正直、關懷的視線，會透過臭氧層破了洞、污染程度惡化、以及逐漸加溫的大氣圈，耐心地觀護著我們，看我們在這個千禧年的終結關卡，如何從人性中愚昧 成分的禁梏裡破繭而出，救贖了我們自己的種系，也化解掉拿地球陪葬的厄運。
一九九六年沙 根的第一本著作，是與施洛夫斯基合寫的《宇宙中的有智慧生命》，也標誌了沙根一生最鍾愛的志業——尋求地球以外的生命跡象。許多人對外太空裡是否存在生命 感到興趣,五花八門的飛碟來訪、與外星人接觸的流言，在世界各國都時有所聞。可是這類道聽途說的舉證，並不能確切地解答人們的疑問，唯有通過科學方法嚴謹 縝密的檢查，才有可能研叛我們真的是不是宇宙孤兒。沙根在當學生的時期，曾經擔任諾貝爾獎得主遺傳學家穆勒（H. J. Muller）的助理。他在一九六○年得到芝加哥大學的天文博士，從從一九六八年開始任教於康乃爾大學，他結合了生物與天文的專長，成為一位推動「外星生 物學」（exobiology）研究的先鋒。一九七二年任先驅者號太空船上，鑲有一塊沙根等人設計的圖像版，如果外太空有高等智慧生物攔下太空船，就可解 讀關於人類存在狀況的訊息。後來在航海者號太空船的載運品裡，還包括了沙根團隊灌製的唱片，記錄了世界各種語言與音樂。目前這艘人類親善訪問船，還在無根 的星空裡繼續它神聖的航程。另外沙根更大力支持用射電望遠鏡聆聽是否有外星人傳來訊息的計畫，他把這種企圖浪漫化為膾炙人口的小說《接觸未來》。當小說搬 上銀幕後，茱蒂．佛斯特精湛的演技更給人留下深刻的印象，我們不僅對主角鍥而不捨衝破逆境尋求真理的毅力感佩，也對影片中時空錯置人性交融的科幻部分，產 生幾許清淡卻難以寬釋的無奈與感傷。
沙根在行星科學方面是首屈一指的領導者，美國無人太空船探索太陽系的各次任務中，他都作出重要的貢 獻。水手號首度傳回火星真實面貌的照片，維京號偵察火星的生命跡象，先驅者號與航海者號探勘外環行星及它們各個的衛月，伽利略號讓人看到木星的細部影像。 從沙根參與執行的研究中，使我們知道金星同為溫室效應成為煉獄般熾熱，土星的衛星泰坦的大氣層裡含有類似造就地球上生命的有機分子。沙恨也讓我們認識到， 宇宙中不乏含碳的化學物質，增加了生命體在宇宙別的角落裡存在的可能性。沙根在天文學專業的成就，使他不僅受聘為康乃爾大學的講座教授，也多次獲得美國太 空總署傑出科研及公眾服務獎。有一顆小行星以他為名，去年登陸火星的拓荒者號也因紀念他而改名為「卡爾．沙根紀念站」。
除了傑出的專業成就外，沙根最令人敬佩的特質，是他與社會上一般人溝通科學問題、科學思想的能力。本書第一章他解釋了如何經由強尼．卡森的模仿秀，讓人 信以為真﹁億萬又億萬﹂是他的口頭禪，其實在他製作的《宇宙的奧秘》這部不少於五億人看過的精采電視影集裡，他從來沒有用過這個不精確的數字。但是這個現 象正強化了沙根作為一位引人注意的科學傳播者的形象，在卡森的節目裡，他每每以便捷的口才，撥開一些反科學或偽科學的迷思，以他精準扼要的說明喚起了大眾 的醒悟。在他辭世之後，很多人寫信告訴他的遺孀，因為效法沙根的榜樣，他們也致力於推展理性與科學，反擊迷信與基本教義的工作。美國物理教師協會在頒給他 該會最高的額斯德獎時，讚揚他說：「沙根重視一種科學家的職責，就是應該喚起公眾注意國家政策裡與科學相關的重要且困難的議題，像是武器管制、核子擴散、 溫室效應，以及臭氧層耗損等。作為辯論中的一刀，他總會認真慎重考量對方的觀點，因而提升了討論的知識與道德水準，也大力增進大眾對這些緊要議題的知曉程 度。」沙根的貢獻已經突破傳統的科學普及範圍，他跨越了把科學知識簡化包裝讓一般人容易吞嚥的階段，而把科學當作文化裡一項重要的成分，拓殖了人類的思維 疆域，也促進了道德與精神向度的展延。
沙根生前最後兩本書都很耐人尋味，本書是最後一本，在此之前是《魔鬼作祟的世界－－科學是黑暗裡 的燭光》。他繼續大力駁斥許多邪門歪道的說法，但是他更想傳達科學最寶貴的核心精神與態度。他說：「科學的核心部分，是要謀求兩種看似相互矛盾態度之間的 平衡，一方面要對新觀念保持開放態度，不管它是多麼奇怪或違反常識;另方面卻要對無論新或舊的觀念，做出最不妥協的、抱持懷疑態度的嚴密檢查。」現在這本 書是他的最後見證，談論的是人類生死關鍵的問題，也是科學家社會良知的衷心呼喚。
本書的第一部分討論的是量化的力量與優美，科學如果不以精確的數據為基礎，虛無飄渺的理論就會墮入胡思亂想的泥淖之中。人類也正因為掌握了量化的數學工 具，才從一個工匠手藝的物質文明，晉升到能參詳解開宇宙奧秘的境地。本書第二部分檢討了全球面臨的一些嚴重生態環境問題。以前沙根曾經呼籲正視核子戰爭造 成的惡果，即使沒有立刻把人類滅絕，隨後的核子冬天也足以讓人浩劫難復。現在冷戰對峙已成歷史，人類面臨的最大危機在於生態環境的持續惡化。沙根以為我們 不能把蹂躪環境的責任，一昧推諉給貪婪的實業家，或是短視的政客。科學界要負起責任，因為他們懶得傷腦筋思考發明物的長期後果，太輕易把有高度毀滅性的成 品出售給出價最高者，或者居住國的政府。宗教界也要負起責任，因為西方的教義都是把自然界當作在上帝旨意下供人役使的對象。沙根沒有隱藏科學與宗教某些理 念上的差異，但是他在危機中謀求轉機，呼籲科學與宗教都應付出對地球更大的注意與關愛。
本書的第三部分是最需要勇氣來寫的一部分，所觸 及的都是一些理智與感情間最具衝突性的交會點。在「公敵」這一章，他不僅深挖了蘇聯的痛處，也迴照了美國自己非理性的面貌。在「人工流產」一章，沙根支持 最高法院的裁定，認為不許人工流產的立法並無憲法依據。美國反對墮胎的人會激烈到燒診所、殺醫生的程度，因此沙根的直言不諱確實需要極大的勇氣。墮胎在台 灣跟吃瀉藥一樣平常，雖然廟裡多了一排排嬰靈牌位，也許安慰與紓解了婦女的歉疚心理，但是重視生命、疼惜生命的覺悟似乎還沒有普遍實現。沙根的觀點提供了 理性思考這個嚴肅問題的張本。最令人感傷的是「行經死蔭的幽谷」那一章，他娓娓道來自己的病情，敘述生命列車即將到站的情境。沙根在這裡發揮了他人性特質 的最精華，他以冷靜、從容、理性的態度面對常人最感恐懼的一關。杜魯揚——他的遺孀－－在「尾聲」中寫道：「和許多基本教義派人士的幻想相反，他在死亡中 並沒有要求信教。沒有在最後一秒鐘時，要用死後可以復生的想法求得心理上的安適。對卡爾來說，對他最重要的就是真理的探求，而不僅是能使他感到舒適的假 設，即使在這個極危險的最後一刻，人們會諒解他的處境，原諒他改變主意。可是他仍不畏懼。」
科學家在追尋真理的途徑上，要遭遇無數的困 苦與挫折。但是那種率先窺視到宇宙奧秘的驚喜，吸引了一代又一代的卓越頭腦獻身科學大業。然而當科學家的理性思維迎戰群眾的愚昧、陰閤、怯懦心態時，卻還 需要進一步鼓舞起「雖千萬人，吾往矣」的無畏精神。沙根說：「我們所以能使這個世界有意義，是因為我們有勇氣提出問題，有能力給出具深度的答案。」我們需 要發出億萬又億萬的願力，持續且毫無畏懼地檢討我們的偏見與無知，庶幾乎才多破解那麼一點點宇宙的玄密，多添加那麼一點點心靈的價值。
最後，作為一位讀者，我要向譯者丘宏義教授致上最高謝意與敬意。他不僅忠實與生動的迻議了這本開啟心智的佳作，而且在為數不少的譯註裡，充分的解說了一些 文化的、歷史的、社會的背景知識。沙根本人是一位學養極為淵博的大師，譯者如果沒有功力提供適當的補充材料，一定會使一般對西方（特別是美國）文化不很嫻 熟的人，錯失許多咀嚼回味以及會心領悟的機緣。冀望丘教授的心血結晶，也會激揚起億萬又億萬為理性與科學獻身的宏願。
億萬又億萬 波斯棋盤 週一夜行獵者 上帝的注視和漏水的水龍頭 四個字宙級的問題 這麼多的太陽，這麼多的世界
郵寄來的世界 環境：要小心謹慎甚麼 克里薩斯及卡姍得拉 一片天空不見了 伏兵：世界變暖 從埋伏中逃出 宗教和科學的聯盟
公敵 人工流產：能不能同時擁護「為生命」和「為選擇」 遊戲規則 蓋茨堡與現在 二十世紀的三大創新 行經死蔭的幽谷
December 21, 1996OBITUARY
Carl Sagan, an Astronomer Who Excelled at Popularizing Science, Is Dead at 62
By WILLIAM DICKECarl Sagan, an astronomer who became one of the nation's best-known scientists by enthusiastically conveying the wonders of the universe to millions of people on television and in books, died yesterday at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. He was 62 and lived in Ithaca, N.Y.
The cause was pneumonia, a complication of the bone marrow disease myelodysplasia, said Susan Edmonds, a spokeswoman for the cancer center. He had been suffering from the ailment for two years and received a bone marrow transplant at the center in April 1995. Since then, he had returned several times for treatment.
Dr. Sagan was David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University in Ithaca.
Building on a foundation of respected scientific research, he became a best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and a telegenic popularizer of scientific research and space exploration. Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences, said yesterday, ''Carl Sagan, more than any contemporary scientist I can think of, knew what it takes to stir passion within the public when it comes to the wonder and importance of science.''
A Longtime Belief In Extraterrestrial Life A persistent theme in his work was one practically guaranteed to capture public interest: the possibility that life exists elsewhere in the universe. He became an expert on the subject at a time when it was considered highly speculative, and prodded other scientists to consider it seriously. Civilized life must be common in the universe, he said, because stars are so abundant and the Sun is a fairly typical star.
Dr. Sagan (pronounced SAY-gun) was probably best known as the host of ''Cosmos,'' a 13-part series on public television in 1980 that explored everything from the world of the atom to the vastness of the universe, and showed him looking awestruck as he contemplated the heavens. With an audience of 400 million people in 60 countries, it was considered the most widely viewed short-term public television series in history until it was eclipsed in 1990 by a series on the Civil War.
He received critical acclaim as well as substantial financial awards for the series, which made him an international celebrity. The book he wrote to accompany it, also called ''Cosmos,'' was on the best-seller list for more than a year, and a company he formed, Carl Sagan Productions, promoted such things as ''The Music of the Cosmos'' with RCA Records.
Dr. Sagan was also familiar to television viewers from 26 appearances in the 1970's and 80's on ''The Tonight Show'' with Johnny Carson, who was known to don a black wig and perform a Sagan impersonation. He and other comics delighted in parodying Dr. Sagan's references to ''billions and billions'' of stars in the universe.
In an interview in 1977, Dr. Sagan said he turned down several hundred requests to give lectures every year but always tried to accept invitations to appear on ''The Tonight Show.''
''The show has an audience of 10 million people,'' he said. ''That's an awful lot of people, and those aren't people who subscribe to Scientific American.''
Defending his activities in popularizing science, Dr. Sagan said in another interview: ''There are at least two reasons why scientists have an obligation to explain what science is all about. One is naked self-interest. Much of the funding for science comes from the public, and the public has a right to know how their money is being spent. If we scientists increase the public excitement about science, there is a good chance of having more public supporters. The other is that it's tremendously exciting to communicate your own excitement to others.''
While his leap from the scientific ivory tower into the television studio may have irritated some of his colleagues, there can be no doubt that Dr. Sagan was a serious and productive scientist.
Early Observations Of Venus and Mars When he was still in his 20's, he deduced that mysterious radio emissions from Venus were caused by surface temperatures around 900 degrees Fahrenheit and that the planet had a crushing atmosphere. Years later, observations by a Soviet spacecraft substantially confirmed his conclusions.
Early in his career, Dr. Sagan offered a new interpretation of color variations observed on Mars. Some scientists said the variations could be seasonal changes in some form of plant life, but Dr. Sagan and a colleague, James Pollack, said that shifts in Martian dust caused by wind storms could explain the observation. The theory was confirmed by a Mariner spacecraft in the 1970's.
Dr. Sagan was deeply involved in NASA's missions to explore Mars and other planets. He was a member of the imaging team for the voyage to Mars by Mariner 9, a spacecraft launched in 1971 that was the first to orbit another planet; it transmitted 7,300 photographs of the Martian surface. He helped select the landing sites for Viking 1 and Viking 2, the first spacecraft to land successfully on Mars, in 1975.
He also worked on Pioneer 10, which was launched in 1972 and was the first spacecraft to investigate an outer planet when it flew by Jupiter, and Pioneer 11, which was launched in 1973 and flew by Jupiter and Saturn.
Dr. Sagan was a member of the scientific team that sent the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft to the outer solar system. The spacecraft, which visited Jupiter in 1979 and then Saturn, were the first to fly by Uranus, in 1986, and Neptune, in 1989, and took the first pictures of the solar system from beyond Pluto, in 1990.
As a member of the Voyager team, Dr. Sagan conceived the idea of putting a message aboard the Voyager spacecraft on the chance that extraterrestrial beings will come upon it centuries from now, somewhere on its endless journey beyond the solar system.
The message, which he called a ''bottle cast into the cosmic ocean,'' is in the form of a 12-inch copper phonograph record inserted in an aluminum protective jacket attached to the outside of the spacecraft. It included greetings from people in many languages and from whales, a 12-minute sound essay, 90 minutes of music and a series of blips to be decoded into black-and-white and color photographs.
He also carried out extensive research relating to the origin of life, and was a member of a team that raised the specter that dust and smoke thrown up by explosions and fires in a nuclear war could lead to a devastating cooling of the atmosphere, or ''nuclear winter.''
Reaching for Stars As a Boy in Brooklyn Carl Sagan was born on Nov. 9, 1934, in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, where his father was a cutter in a clothing factory. He became interested in the stars as a child, read science fiction avidly, and said that by the time he was 8 he had arrived at the idea that there must be life on planets orbiting other stars.
''I didn't make a decision to pursue astronomy,'' he said. ''Rather, it just grabbed me, and I had no thought of escaping.''
He liked to recall that when he was 12, his grandfather asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up. ''An astronomer,'' he said. ''Fine,'' his grandfather said, ''but how will you make a living?''
Carl Sagan went off to the University of Chicago, from which he received bachelor's degrees in 1954 and 1955, a master's degree in physics in 1956 and a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics in 1960. He accepted a fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley, became an assistant professor of astronomy at Harvard University, and then joined the Cornell faculty in 1968. He became a full professor in 1971.
Dr. Sagan wrote more than 600 scientific papers and popular articles, and more than a dozen books, ranging outside his specialty; once he even turned to fiction.
In The New York Times Book Review, the novelist James Michener described Dr. Sagan's book ''Cosmos'' as ''a cleverly written, imaginatively illustrated summary of his geological, anthropological, biological, historical and astronomical ruminations about our universe,'' and added, ''His style is iridescent, with lights flashing upon unexpected juxtapositions of thought.''
In 1978, Dr. Sagan won the Pulitzer Prize for ''The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence.'' In a review in The Times, John Leonard called the book ''a delight'' and described Dr. Sagan as ''a scientific Robert Redford, handsome and articulate and all business.''
In 1966, Dr. Sagan collaborated with a Soviet scientist, I. S. Shklovskii, on a book, ''Intelligent Life in the Universe,'' which showed that some scientists were willing to speculate about this topic.
A Literary Lion With Cosmic Interests Dr. Sagan set off a stir in the literary world by signing a $2 million contract with Simon and Schuster for his first novel, ''Contact,'' a work of science fiction published in 1984 that also was a best seller. With his wife, Ann Druyan, he was working as co-producer of a movie based on the book; it is to be released by Warner Brothers next year.
Among his other books were ''The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective'' (Doubleday, 1973); ''Other Worlds'' (Bantam, 1975); ''Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science'' (Random House, 1979); ''The Cold and the Dark: The World After Nuclear War'' (W. W. Norton, 1984), with several co-authors; ''Comet'' (Random House, 1984), written with Ms. Druyan; ''Shadows of Forgotton Ancestors: A Search for Who We Are'' (Random House, 1992), also written with Ms. Druyan; ''Pale Blue Dot'' (Random House, 1994), and ''The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark'' (Random House, 1995).
Dr. Sagan held many positions, among them the chairmanship of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. He also was editor in chief of Icarus, a journal of planetary studies, and president of the Planetary Society.
He received numerous awards, including the National Academy of Sciences' highest honor, the Public Welfare Medal, and the NASA Medal for Distinguished Public Service twice.
His first two marriages, to Lynn Margulis and Linda Salzman, ended in divorce. Besides his wife, he is survived by a sister, Cari Sagan Greene of League City, Tex.; four sons, Dorion, of Amherst, Mass., Jeremy, of Ithaca, Nicholas, of Los Angeles, and Sam, of Ithaca; a daughter, Alexandra, of Ithaca, and a grandchild.
www.boerenlandvogels.nl/sites/default/files/demonhauntedworld.pdfCarl Sagan is the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and ......The demons were also called devils, or fallen angels. The demonic ...