Born on 9 November 1934 in Brooklyn, New York, Carl Sagan received a Bachelorís degree in 1955 and a Masterís degree in 1956, both in Physics, and a Doctorate in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1960, all from the University of Chicago. Sagan played a major role in NASAís Mariner, Viking, Voyager and Galileo expeditions and received NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and for Distinguished Public Service and the NASA Apollo Achievement Award. He was the chairman of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, president of the Planetology Section of the American Geophysical Union and chairman of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Carl Sagan died from pneumonia on 20 December 1996 at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center after a two-year battle against myelodysplasia,
a pre-leukemic syndrome.