When Neil deGrasse Tyson was applying to colleges, Carl Sagan went out of his way to make the budding astrophysicist feel especially at home at Cornell University, where he taught. Tyson would ultimately attend Harvard, but not before writing this letter to Sagan explaining his decision.
Tyson remembers his first meeting with Sagan fondly. If you've never seen it, his recounting of the interaction is definitely worth a watch. The thought of two giants in the world of science communication interacting with one another, one firmly established, the other just starting out, the pair separated by a generation but bound by their love for the Universe, is enough to warm even the iciest of hearts. When the rebooted Cosmos television series – the original-run of which now being over 30 years old – premieres this March, it will be Tyson who preserves Sagan's legacy as the show's host. One is hard pressed to imagine a more fitting successor.
This letter hails from The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive, which was recently acquired by the Library of Congress. The LoC has begun cataloging the collection and posting digitized versions of its contents to the library's website. Check it out here.