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An apple pie 14 billion years in the making

Sam Williams

December 10, 2012

How could such a simple sentence throw me and my whole world, my life, the way I think about myself, my planet, my family, into a flood of thought and questions. If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe... This sentence punched me square in the brain when I first heard it in one of those symphony of science videos on youtube. It was the hook to the song of my life but didn't realize it until I slowed it down and dissected the melody. I had always known about Carl Sagan but never really bought in. The movie Contact had been one of my favorites. I even had one of his books, Demon Haunted World, which had been purchased at a local book store while I was attending Air Force school in Albuquerque, New Mexico back in the late 90's. An old friend recommended it to me which I will always have a debt of gratitude. After listening to those words by Sagan, I pulled it from my bookshelf, still new even with the receipt tucked between the pages. As I began to read Demon Haunted World, I came to realize that the skeptic in me was always there. I had been raised in a church and to have faith. In what I'm not sure, but I guess you could say during that time there was a rejection of science because there certainly was no inclusion of evolution, or the humans place in the universe. All those years I struggled to see how religion coincided with science. Turns out those struggles were just natural thought, doubt, and skepitism. So I guess you could say I lost my religion. While it was my parents who made me go to church, they also had a hand in helping me embrace science and space. My dad loved NASA and the story of the right stuff. My Mom had seen the Cosmos documentary series on PBS when it originary aired and purchased the Cosmos coffee table book. I remember flipping through the pages as a kid but never really noticing the author of the book. After watching Cosmos, I now know why my mom fell in love with the series. Carl Sagan explains the beautiful mystery of our universe in such an eloquent manner. He is a scientist with a gift of poetry. It's so inviting and relieving and with not a hint of condescension. It reveals to the viewer there place in our universe that is so poetic and reaffirming and it's based on science. That's not easy to do. What's awesome is it doesn't stop with Sagan. It continues with disciples like Neil Tyson, Bill Nye, Emily Lakdawalla, and James Bullock. These folks continue to spark my passion for space and science which I am now passing on to my own kids. Thanks Planetary Society!


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