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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2003 > Nov > Nov 25

Sagan In Stars & Stripes 11-26-92

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates@virtuallystrange.net>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 08:20:06 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 08:20:06 -0500
Subject: Sagan In Stars & Stripes 11-26-92





Date: 01-04-95 (03:18)
  To: ALL
From: SJOHNS19@FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU, Steven Vincent Johnson
Subj: Carl Sagan - Stars and Stripes Newspaper article, Nov. 26, 1
Read: (N/A)
Conf: U-AltParaUFO

Subject: Carl Sagan - Stars and Stripes Newspaper article, Nov. 26, 1962
Date: Tue, 3 Jan 1995 23:05:00 UNDEFINED
Organization: University of Wisconsin


Carl Sagan Speech

An Associated Press (AP) article in the Stars and Stripes, A
U.S. military newspaper

Date: Monday, November 26, 1962


The following Stars and Stripes news article was retrieved from a
microfilm reel from the State Historical Society located in
Madison, Wisconsin. For further information you can reach the
Microfilm Reading Room by calling 1 (608) 264-6536. The specific
microfilm reel contains the European version of the Stars and
Stripes military news paper for October through December 1962.
(There are also Pacific and U.S. mainland versions of the Stars
and Stripes, which didn't carry the following AP article.) The
identification tag for this microfilm reel is: P29240. I wish
to thank Mr. James Easton who resides in the mythic land of
Scotland (TEXJE@vaxb.heriot-watt.ac.uk) for tracking down the
date of this article as well as the specific newspaper. It
would appear that a number of UFO magazines back in the 60s and
70s may have drawn much of their intellectual ammunition from
this AP article, particularly since a prestigious Assistant
Professor from Harvard University gave the speech. (For those
interested, I draw additional personal speculations at the end
of this article concerning the issue of public imagery and the
health of one's professional career.)

For those who wish a photocopy of the article. Send me A SELF
ENCLOSED STAMPED ENVELOPE (A 32 cent stamp for U.S. mail please,
or one U.S. dollar if from outside continental U.S.A.) and send
it to:

Steven V. Johnson Attn: Carl Sagan Article - 11/26/62 702
Eugenia Avenue Madison, Wisconsin 53705

PS: And if you are nice I'll even enclose a freebie post card
from one of my own paintings on science fiction, astronomy, and
mythic UFO art.


* * * * * * * * * * * START OF ARTICLE * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Prof Says Beings From Outer Space Have Visited Earth

LOS ANGELES. (AP) - Some of the best scientific minds in the
country were stumped when a slender, dark-haired young man
chalked on the blackboard this equation:

N equals R FP NE FL FI FC L.

The speaker was Dr. Carl Sagan, a 28 year-old assistant
professor of astronomy at Harvard University.

His audience consisted of several hundred members of the
American Rocket Society, gathered for his luncheon address.

The equation was his way of expressing the mathematical
probability that intelligent beings from outer space have
visited earth.

Sagan soberly explained that in his equation N Stands for the
number of advanced technical civilizations in the universe
possessing the capability of interstellar communication.

R is the mean rate of star formation averaged over the lifetime
of the galaxy.

FP is the fraction of stars with planetary systems.

NE is the mean number of planets in each system with
environments favorable for the origin of life.

FL is the fraction of such planets on which life does develop.

FI is the fraction of such inhabited planets on which
intelligent life with manipulative abilities rises during the
lifetime of the local sun.

FC is the fraction of planets populated by intelligent beings on
which advanced technical civilizations rises.

And L is the lifetime of this technical civilization.

Sagan said information in his formula is based on current
estimates by astronomers. In making calculations, he assigned
each symbol an arbitrary numerical value.

As expressed in numbers, Sagan said, the formula means that at
least 1 million of the 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy
have planets which have developed civilizations capable of
travel between the stars.

"Let's say that each of these civilizations sends out one
interstellar expedition per year," he said.

"That means that every star, such as our sun, would be visited
at least once every million years. In some systems where these
beings found life, they would make more frequent visits.
 There's a strong probability, then, that they have visited
earth every few thousand years.

"It is not out of the question that artifacts of these visits
still exist or even that some kind of base is maintained,
possibly automatically, within the solar system, to provide
continuity for successive expeditions.

"Because of weathering and the possibility of detection and
interference by the inhabitants of earth it would be preferable
not to erect such a base on the earth's surface. The moon seems
one reasonable alternative.

"Forthcoming photographic reconnaissance of the moon from space
vehicles - particularly of the back - might bear these
possibilities in mind."

At a news conference Sagan predicted man himself would be
capable of interstellar flight at close to the speed of light
"within a century or two."

Asked if he believed in flying saucers, he said: "I do believe
there are objects which have hot be identified."


* * * * * * * * END of Stars and Stripes Article * * * * * * *



 PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON SAGAN'S 1962 SPEECH

One can only imagine the discomfort (as well as the lesson of
cultivating an undesirable public image through
guilt-by-association with UFO theorists) a very young 28 year
old assistant professor trying to gain tenure at a prestigious
university must have felt when he began to find his theoretical
mathematical speculations and conclusions showing up in
fragmented bits and pieces in UFO magazines of that era. I
believe there is ample evidence to suggest that a scientific/
academic professional career would be adversely affected if one
became associated with what was (and often still is) considered
the lunatic fringe element groups of society. Not the kind of
PR one wishes to advertise to one's peers who hold the purse
strings while attempting to win the position of Associate
Professorship as well as tenure!

It may also help explain why Mr. Sagan for most of his
professional and highly successful PUBLIC career appears to have
been a staunch skeptic concerning analysis of UFO evidence, as
if to distance himself as much as possible from his earlier
comments. For further evidence concerning Mr. Sagan's personal
sensitivity to the issue of public imagery I would recommend
interested scholars read pages 205 - 208 of Hogland's book
"Monuments of Mars" for a fascinating dialogue exchange that was
alleged to have occurred between these two individuals. I
realize many like to portray Hogland, who was a former advisor
to Walter Cronkite CBS news on the science of NASA's epic
journeys to the moon during the Apollo Program, as a self
serving idiot with illusions of grandeur. Never the less I feel
it is appropriate to mention here that Sagan has always had the
right to sue Mr. Hogland if he felt Hogland had misquoted him or
misinterpreted his intentions. To the best of my knowledge Mr.
Sagan has not done so, and I would also mention that it would
appear that Mr. Sagan has indeed used the court of law when he
felt his name was being defamed in some fashion as I believe he
recently attempted to do so against Apple Computer Inc.


Steve

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