I have often written about Sagan, specifically how he and Stephen Jay Gould were icons of my childhood and teenage years, and how I might never have become a scientist without their writings egging me on and opening my eyes and keeping me hungry for more. I actually got to meet Gould in 1986, when I was in college in Boulder. He was on campus for a paleontological conference, and the Department of Geology assigned to be his personal aid for two days. But I never met Sagan. I never even had the chance to attended one of his lectures, and I am vastly poorer for that.
"Those worlds in space are as countless as all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth. Each of those worlds is as real as ours and every one of them is a succession of incidents, events, occurrences which influence its future. Countless worlds, numberless moments, an immensity of space and time. And our small planet at this moment, here we face a critical branch point in history: what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants. It is well within our power to destroy our civilization and perhaps our species as well."
-- from Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Episode 8: "Journeys in Space and Time"