Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Origin Stories: Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan explores the evolution of human intelligence from the big bang, fifteen billion years ago, through today in this never-before-released archival lecture.

Carl Sagan. Credit: NASA

The Leakey Foundation is 50 years old this year, and we’re celebrating this milestone by sharing rare, previously unreleased lectures from the Foundation’s archive. These talks are like a time capsule that lets you hear from scientists and thinkers in their own words and in their own voices as they were making the discoveries that made them famous.

The Leakey Foundation’s Speaker Series on Human Origins has been ongoing since the Foundation’s beginning in 1968, and speakers from many disciplines have been invited to share their research and reflection on the origins, evolution, behavior, and survival of our species. Many of the world’s most celebrated scientists have given Leakey Foundation lectures, including many from disciplines outside of anthropology.

The first lecture in this “From the Archive” series is by Carl Sagan, the renowned astrophysicist and science communicator. He gave this Leakey Foundation lecture in 1977, around the time of the launch of the Voyager 1 space probe and five months before the release of his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Dragons of Eden,  a book about human intelligence and the evolution of the brain.

In this talk, he explores the origins of life on earth and shares his thoughts on how we came to have brains that can attempt to comprehend the vastness of the universe.

Listen here and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Radio Public, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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