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Randall, Henry Stephens (03 May 1811–14 August 1876), author and politician, was born in Brookfield, New York, the son of Roswell Randall and Harriet Stephens, farmers. Two years later his family moved to Cortland, New York, where they prospered and became leading citizens as farmers and merchants. Randall graduated at age nineteen from Union College, where he was a particular favorite of President ...


Carl Sagan. Courtesy of Cornell University.


Sagan, Carl (09 November 1934–20 December 1996), space scientist, author, science popularizer, TV personality, and antinuclear weapons activist, was born Carl Edward Sagan in Brooklyn, New York. He was the son of Rachel Molly Gruber Sagan and garment industry worker Samuel Sagan, an immigrant from the Ukraine. Carl Sagan's Jewish background encouraged him “to ask questions early,” as he later observed (Davidson, p. 57); so did his mother's skeptical, sometimes acidic personality. At age five, he became interested in astronomy when he read in a library book that the stars are distant versions of our sun. His interest in science soared when his parents took him to the New York World's Fair of 1939–1940, which offered an optimistic and (as he later acknowledged) “extremely technocratic” view of the future (Davidson, p. 14)....