Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Carolyn Porco meets Marcus Aurelius

Two weeks, there was a piece in the NYTimes about Carolyn Porco and her remarkable contributions in imaging the outer planets of our solar system. A protege of Carl Sagan, she is credited as being the model for the character Dr. Ellie Arroway in the book/movie "Contact". Definitely an interesting read.

But today there was an interesting letter called "Eyeing the Cosmos"in the NYTimes, inspired by the article:

...In pondering the possibility of life elsewhere in the cosmos, Dr. Porco echoes yet another august figure in her ancestral patrimony, Marcus Aurelius: “The entire Earth is but a point, and the place of our own habitation but a minute corner of it...

If you have not read Marcus Aurelius, I highly recommend the recent translation by Gregory Hays, "Meditations: Marcus Aurelius" This book belongs on the self of every well-read Pagan/Wiccan/Atheist.

7 comments:

toomanytribbles said...

i believe that the role of arroway cwas based on jill tarter, and not carolyn porco.

green_ghost113 said...

perhaps ellie is an amalgam of the two...

genexs said...

Hi toomany. That sure could be true, but I've heard the character was based on Porco before.

toomanytribbles said...

of course. myths go around like that.

genexs said...

Hi again Toomany. It seems Sagan advised Jody F to model the roll on Carolyn.

toomanytribbles said...

it seems. interesting.

toomanytribbles said...

if you're still interested...

i've had an email correspondence with carolyn porco which included a question by me regarding the above speculation and i thought you might appreciate the answer.

as the character consultant for the movie 'contact', carolyn porco asked sagan about the basis for the character in the book and was told directly she was not based on any one person, and not based on tarter. he added that the `voice' of arroway was his own, which is obvious.