It has been over 30 years since Carl Sagan’s original series, “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” inspired a generation of scientists. His brought the desire to learn and discover to the forefront of many people’s minds. It instilled in all its viewers a sense of wonder and an appreciation of the majesty of the cosmos, and it challenged them to search for the answers to all the questions of science.
Now, a new series, “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” is following in the footsteps of the original. Neil deGrasse Tyson, a former student of Sagan’s, takes the reigns for this reboot of the original series, but with him comes much more original content. Tyson is trying to instill that same sense of wonder and fascination with science into a new generation. He even says that maybe one of the current viewers will one day answer questions that have thus far been unanswered by science.
Today, the importance of science is a topic that is talked about not only by scientists like Tyson, but also politicians, TV talk show hosts and countless book writers. America has fallen behind in education, especially in the areas of math and science. Just as Tyson said, any of those watching the new “Cosmos” could one day become a great scientist that brings about massive changes for humanity and our understanding of our place in the universe. Children should be encouraged to pursue the sciences, and be open-minded and think critically about the world around them.
Just as the original “Cosmos” was shown in classrooms around the nation and around the world, this new edition of the show should also be shown to students. Some say that the show has a negative attitude towards Christianity, especially because of the first episode’s depiction of the Church in the story of astronomer Giordano Bruno. However, the story told on the show is actually a watered-down version of Bruno’s conflicts with the Church; it didn’t go into the horrific ways he was tortured in an attempt to get him to recant his beliefs, nor the incredibly painful way he was put to death.
The show is still an inspiration to future scientists, with Tyson telling those watching, “There’s no shame in admitting what you don’t know.” This is true for all things. You will not always be right, and sometimes you will fail, but the only true failure is if you fail to learn from the experience. Science is the quest for knowledge and understanding. Even if an experiment fails, learning still occurs: The original hypothesis was wrong, but that opens the door for new experiments to find out why.
When we look out to the vastness of the cosmos, we want to know where it’s all going, where it all came from and how it all works. This show, in all its wonder, brings us back to a time when we were more curious – when we looked to the heavens and stood in awe.
We have gone to the heavens and footprints of men are on the moon. With those endeavors, we realized a dream that was centuries in the making. Surely, we can dare to dream like that again. To quote from the show “The West Wing,” we should be asking ourselves, “What will be the next thing that challenges us? That makes us go farther and work harder? … Surely we can do it again, as we did in the times when our eyes looked towards the heavens, and with outstretched fingers, we touched the face of God.”
It will be a new generation of scientists that answers those questions and explores new ideas and places. Hopefully, this new “Cosmos” will inspire these future scientists to continue to seek knowledge and explore the wonders of the universe.