Over many interviews Neil Degrasse Tyson has talked about this infamous letter. Many years ago when Dr. Tyson was applying for colleges, a certain someone found out of Neil’s interest at Cornell University. That certain someone was the famed scientist popularizer Carl Sagan. Carl Sagan wrote the young genius a personal letter in order to persuade Neil Degrasse Tyson to join the university. Carl Sagan’s letter to Neil Degrasse Tyson seems to hold a great meaning to Tyson and for obvious reasons. This won’t be the first time Mr. Tyson is following in the foot steps of Sagan. Well known as a science popularizer himself, Neil Degrasse Tyson is set to host the reincarnation of Sagan’s classic science t.v. show Cosmos on Fox in late 2014. For perhaps the first time ever, here is a copy of Carl Sagan’s letter to Neil Degrasse Tyson.

The Official Copy

A transcript of Carl Sagan’s letter to Neil Degrasse Tyson is written below.

Carl Sagan's Letter To Neil Degrasse Tyson


November 12, 1975

Mr. Neil D. Tyson

Apt 8b

5700 Arlington Avenue

Bronx, New York  10471


Dear Neil:

Thanks for your letter and most interesting resume. I was especially glad to see that, for a career in astronomy, you intend to do your undergraduate work in physics. In this way, you will acquire the essential tools for a wide range of subsequent astronomical endeavors.

I would guess from your resume that your interests in astronomy are sufficiently deep and your mathematical and physical background sufficiently strong that we could probably engage you in real astronomical research during your undergraduate career here, if the possibility interests you. For example, we hope to be bringing back to Itchaca in late calendar year 1976 an enormous array of Viking data on Mars both from the orbiters and from the landers.

I would be delighted to meet with you and when you visit Ithaca. Please try and give as much advance notice of the date as you can because my travel schedule is quite hectic right now and I really would like to be in Ithaca when you drop by. 

With all good wishes, 


Carl Sagan