|Born||August 24, 1944|
|Education||Coral Gables Senior High School|
|Alma mater||Northwestern University School of Law|
|Fields||Astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, astrobiology, space science, planetary science|
Timothy Ferris (born August 29, 1944) is an American science writer and the best-selling author of twelve books, including The Science of Liberty (2010) and Coming of Age in the Milky Way (1988), for which he was awarded the American Institute of Physics Prize and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.He also wrote The Whole Shebang: A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report (1997), a popular science book on the study of the universe. Ferris has produced three PBS documentaries: The Creation of the Universe, Life Beyond Earth, and Seeing in the Dark.
Ferris is a native of Miami, Florida and a graduate of Coral Gables Senior High School. He attended Northwestern University, graduating in 1966 with majors in English and communications.He studied for one year at the Northwestern University Law School before joining United Press International as a reporter, working in New York City.
After starting his career as a newspaper reporter, Ferris became an editor at Rolling Stone , where he initially specialized in science journalism. Ferris produced the Voyager Golden Record, an artifact of human civilization containing music, sounds of Earth and encoded photographs launched aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft. He has served as a consultant to NASA on long-term space exploration policy, and was among the journalists selected as candidates to fly aboard the Space Shuttle in 1986; the planned flight was cancelled due to the Challenger disaster. He was also a friend of and collaborator with American astronomer Carl Sagan.
Ferris is a Guggenheim fellow and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He won the Klumpke-Roberts Award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1986, and has twice won the American Institute of Physics science-writing medal and the American Association for the Advancement of Science writing prize.
Ferris has taught astronomy, English, history, journalism, and philosophy at four universities. He is an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley.[ citation needed ]
Ferris began a series of brief video lectures, available on YouTube,during the COVID-19 pandemic. The series is named after his astronomical observatory in Northern California. Lecture topics include Symmetry, Time Travel, Global Warming, Interstellar Homesteading, Cities, Progress, and Liberalism. According to a review of the series, "Every lecture is crisp, compelling, and sure to shift your perspective and fuel your curiosity." Another review notes, "In these compact lectures (most are shorter than 10 minutes), Ferris discourses on all manner of big topics—everything from time travel and quantum theory to liberalism and cynicism. The lectures are breezily erudite and blessedly compact—long enough to stimulate, not so long as to bore."
Ann Druyan is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning American documentary producer and director specializing in the communication of science. She co-wrote the 1980 PBS documentary series Cosmos, hosted by Carl Sagan, whom she married in 1981. She is the creator, producer, and writer of the 2014 sequel, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and its sequel series, Cosmos: Possible Worlds, as well as the book of the same name. She directed episodes of both series.
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, science communicator, author, and professor. His best known scientific contribution is his research on the possibility of extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. He assembled the first physical messages sent into space, the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, which were universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. He argued in favor of the hypothesis, which has since been accepted, that the high surface temperatures of Venus are the result of the greenhouse effect.
Extraterrestrial life or alien life is life which does not originate from Earth. No extraterrestrial life has yet been conclusively detected. Such life might range from simple forms such as prokaryotes to intelligent beings, possibly bringing forth civilizations that might be far more advanced than humanity. The Drake equation speculates about the existence of sapient life elsewhere in the universe. The science of extraterrestrial life is known as astrobiology.
A googolplex is the number 10googol, or equivalently, 1010100 or 1010,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Written out in ordinary decimal notation, it is 1 followed by 10100 zeroes; that is, a 1 followed by a googol of zeroes.
Frank Donald Drake was an American astrophysicist and astrobiologist.
The Voyager Golden Records are two identical phonograph records one of each which were included aboard the two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. The records contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form who may find them. The records are a time capsule.
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part, 1980 television series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Sagan as presenter. It was executive-produced by Adrian Malone, produced by David Kennard, Geoffrey Haines-Stiles, and Gregory Andorfer, and directed by the producers, David Oyster, Richard Wells, Tom Weidlinger, and others. It covers a wide range of scientific subjects, including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe. Owing to its bestselling companion book and soundtrack album using the title, Cosmos, the series is widely known by this title, with the subtitle omitted from home video packaging. The subtitle began to be used more frequently in the 2010s to differentiate it from the sequel series that followed.
The Pioneer plaques are a pair of gold-anodized aluminum plaques that were placed on board the 1972 Pioneer 10 and 1973 Pioneer 11 spacecraft, featuring a pictorial message, in case either Pioneer 10 or 11 is intercepted by intelligent extraterrestrial life. The plaques show the nude figures of a human male and female along with several symbols that are designed to provide information about the origin of the spacecraft.
Harlow Shapley was an American scientist, head of the Harvard College Observatory (1921–1952), and political activist during the latter New Deal and Fair Deal.
Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from an unprecedented distance of approximately 6 billion kilometers, as part of that day's Family Portrait series of images of the Solar System.
Nicholas Julian Zapata Sagan is an American novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of the science fiction novels Idlewild, Edenborn, and Everfree, and has also written scripts for episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager. He is the son of astronomer Carl Sagan and artist and writer Linda Salzman.
Universe is a 1960 black-and-white animated documentary short film made in 1960 by Roman Kroitor and Colin Low for the National Film Board of Canada, which says that the film "creates on the screen a vast, awe-inspiring picture of the universe as it would appear to a voyager through space. Realistic animation takes you into far regions of space, beyond the reach of the strongest telescope, past Moon, Sun, and Milky Way into galaxies yet unfathomed."
Don Davis is a space artist known for his portrayals of space-related subjects. His work is characterised by attention to detail and authentic portrayals based on what is known of the subject. Chesley Bonestell, considered by many to be one of the most accomplished practitioners of the space art genre, critiqued Davis' early paintings and encouraged him to pursue an artistic career.
Cosmos is a popular science book written by astronomer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carl Sagan. It was published in 1980 as a companion piece to the PBS mini-series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage with which it was co-developed and intended to complement. Each of the book’s 13 illustrated chapters corresponds to one of the 13 episodes of the television series. Just a few of the ideas explored in Cosmos include the history and mutual development of science and civilization, the nature of the Universe, human and robotic space exploration, the inner workings of the cell and the DNA that controls it, and the dangers and future implications of nuclear war. One of Sagan's main purposes for both the book and the television series was to explain complex scientific ideas in a way that anyone interested in learning can understand. Sagan also believed the television was one of the greatest teaching tools ever invented, so he wished to capitalize on his chance to educate the world. Spurred in part by the popularity of the TV series, Cosmos spent 50 weeks on the Publishers Weekly best-sellers list and 70 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list to become the best-selling science book ever published at the time. In 1981, it received the Hugo Award for Best Non-Fiction Book. The unprecedented success of Cosmos ushered in a dramatic increase in visibility for science-themed literature. The success of the book also served to jumpstart Sagan's literary career. The sequel to Cosmos is Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (1994).
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space is a 1994 book by the astronomer Carl Sagan. It is the sequel to Sagan's 1980 book Cosmos and was inspired by the famous 1990 Pale Blue Dot photograph, for which Sagan provides a poignant description. In the book, Sagan mixes philosophy about the human place in the universe with a description of the current knowledge about the Solar System. He also details a human vision for the future.
Jon Lomberg is an American space artist and science journalist. He was Carl Sagan's principal artistic collaborator for more than twenty years on many projects from 1972 through 1996. In 1998, the International Astronomical Union officially named an asteroid in recognition of his achievements in science communication. He was NASA's Design Director for the Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft; the cover he designed is expected to last at least a billion years.
The Symphony of Science is a music project created by Washington-based electronic musician John D. Boswell. The project seeks to "spread scientific knowledge and philosophy through musical remixes." Boswell uses pitch-corrected audio and video samples from television programs featuring popular educators and scientists. The audio and video clips are mixed into digital mashups and scored with Boswell's original compositions. Two of Boswell's music videos, "A Glorious Dawn" and "We are All Connected", feature appearances from Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and Stephen Hawking. The audio and video is sampled from popular science television shows including Cosmos, The Universe, The Eyes of Nye, The Elegant Universe, and Stephen Hawking's Universe.
The Voyager Golden Record contains 116 images and a variety of sounds. The items for the record, which is carried on both the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft, were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University. Included are natural sounds, musical selections from different cultures and eras, spoken greetings in 59 languages, human sounds like footsteps and laughter, and printed messages from President Jimmy Carter and U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim.
"Standing Up in the Milky Way" is the first aired episode of the American documentary television series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. It premiered on March 9, 2014, simultaneously on various Fox television networks, including National Geographic Channel, FX, Fox Life, and others. The episode is presented by the series host astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, directed by Brannon Braga, produced by Livia Hanich and Steven Holtzman, and written by Ann Druyan and Steven Soter.
List of works by or about Timothy Ferris, American science writer.