A COSMOS Conversation with Ann Druyan

Photo Credit: Mitchell Cannold.

You Can Also Listen On

About This Episode

Go behind the scenes of the Emmy® Award-winning science show COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey when Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews its creator, writer and executive producer Ann Druyan. They recount the 3-year struggle to get the new COSMOS made while maintaining creative control and finding enough money to produce the show without compromising its integrity. Discover the critical role Seth MacFarlane played in bringing the project to FOX – and his personal offer of $1 million to help finance the pilot. Learn how Ann met future husband Carl Sagan at a 1974 dinner party thrown by her friend Nora Ephron, and how they got to know each other on the Voyager project. As the creative director of Voyager’s Golden Record, Ann talks about her favorite track: her brain waves, recorded 2 days after she and Carl fell in love, translated into sound on the record. Finally, you’ll hear Ann and Neil discuss why COSMOS is so important… and if there might be a third COSMOS series in the future.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: A COSMOS Conversation with Ann Druyan.

In This Episode

  • Host

    Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Guest

    Ann Druyan

    Ann Druyan
    Creator/Writer/Executive Producer of Cosmos A Spacetime Odyssey, Co-Writer of Cosmos A Personal Voyage

Music in This Episode

Episode Topics

  • starstuff

    Thank you, Ann!

  • Sarah

    I watched the original Cosmos when I was a teenager, and it shaped the way I see & react to the world. Thank you very much for bringing it back with the same depth & passion. I will forever be grateful.

  • Beau Morrison

    Thank you both so much for what you do.

  • Jrod

    Such a great series… thanks to everyone who worked hard to make it happen!

  • Uros Markovic

    Thank you all for Cosmos series, both old and new!

  • Krzysztof Kotarba

    fun episode…
    It’s just my impression or she seems to be a bit abashed?

  • Elizabeth Reece

    Wow thank you so much for once again opening my mind to the endless possibilities of space and time, its truly mind shaping and inspiring.

  • gray

    Wow, listening to Ann is a joy. Everything she says is so intelligent and fluff-free. I hope she is back on the show again very soon.

  • msfrost

    Since humans are apes, it’s already Planet of the Apes. 🙂

    • startalkradio


      • More accurately, Planet of the Tardigrades. For every human, there’s at least billion of them.

        • startalkradio

          True, Rayhanna, but even using performance capture technology, Andy Serkis would have a hard time portraying a tardigrade.

          • Andy Serkis performed as a tardigrate? Wow, I never knew! How amazing. Who played the paramecium? So cool I hardly knew about this motion picture technology until that comment. Thanks, Startalk! 🙂

          • startalkradio

            Sorry if I was unclear, Rahana. Andy never performed as a tardigrade. What I said was, it would have been difficult for him to do so. (Although if anyone could pull it off, it would be him.)

          • Too late I already imagined Andy Serkis animating a tardigade and laughed. But tardigrades are such work of art by Nature if I was Michelangelo I’d carve a Tarigrage-David out of white marble.

  • Mike

    My favorite StarTalk episode yet. Neil asked great questions, and Ann is just ridiculously smart.

    I enjoyed the part where she talked about waiting a week after editing something, to see if it wasn’t silly or not in the end. That’s pretty much the artistic process as a whole, and it’s always a bit comforting to hear that the big shots go through the same headaches!

  • Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey transformed me. It changed my whole understanding of my surrounding, and the unknown. I am so grateful for all the hard works and determinations by great minds like Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and including everyone who worked in the team.

    It’s important that Cosmos must continue to few more seasons. There is no reason to think 26 episodes were all comprehensive of all that is there in the Cosmos, after all, the Universe is always expanding, and taking us to new knowledge almost everyday if not random. Also, please note, I find the distribution of selecting history of scientific discoveries based on geography incomplete: there were massive contribution to science and mathematics by people from other continents including Africa and Asia, etc. for example, the first lady of Physics from China, CV Raman. What about Marie Curie? Stephen Hawking? Also ancient mathematicians and scientists should also receive more coverage e.g. Pythagoras, Socrates, Hypatia. There is little and little verified information on their legacy, so Cosmos will be a great source for young mind to learn about them.

    Thanks! Much love 🙂 Ray

  • Sean Dysinger

    Freaking love that theme song.

  • Dear Ann, if you are reading this, I thank you so very much for sharing the tale of your first meeting with Carl and for your poetic prose on how life was like for you two together. It brought a tear to the ole peepers–as has of course, the original Cosmos series. Thank you SO VERY much for making that shining star of a program a reality back then, and for bringing it back at a time when it’s crucial to educate new young minds. Thanks to the Net, that’s more possible than it has ever been and never more necessary. I loved this interview. I love Cosmos new and old. And again, dear Neil, thank YOU for all your wonderful work in science and on the mic/camera, bringing it back to the coffee tables of the world. (((the highest of fives to you both))), : J

  • Pingback: A COSMOS Conversation with Ann Druyan | StarTal...()

  • debbie

    how is the Voyager phonograph record protected from the hazards of space?

  • Ray Campbell

    You all have inspired a whole new generation! My house was in total silence every week when Cosmos was on! Thank you so much!

  • Dave

    Utterly brilliant. There are no words to describe the immensity and beauty of the cosmos. But Ann, you and Neil get pretty damned close to it. A beautiful production. Thank you.

  • Dave

    Utterly brilliant. There are no words to describe the immensity and beauty of the cosmos. But Ann, you and Neil get pretty damned close to it. A beautiful production. Thank you.

  • Anna

    Just fantastic. I cried several times during the series and several times during this interview. Thank you both so, so much. Ann, you are my new hero!

  • Nathan R

    a great episode !

  • Ralph Cameron

    Keep it coming! It’s wonderful to hear about your experiences. Your enthusiasm is infectious!

    • Miguel Espirito Santo

      Damn those feels at 34 mins T_T Ann You are the greatest! 🙂

  • Ralph Cameron

    Keep it coming! It’s wonderful to hear about your experiences. Your enthusiasm is infectious!

  • ty

    I’ve yet to watch it….lol…but I know it’s good!!

  • Tee Reed

    I choke up every time I start and end Cosmos.I was able to watch the first episode with my son for the first time, and his eyes showed me the wonder he was imagining. Thank you Neil and Ann and Seth…you have made something that will last forever.

    • Mike Ireland

      I hope when I have children that I can inspire them by inviting them to watch programs such as this with me as well as taking them for walks and answering their questions (apart from Santa) as honestly as possible. Whether they grow to be a traditional musician, an astrophysicist or shop assistant I hope they look up and wonder. Thanks all at Cosmos and Startalk and their awesome commuity.

  • Bryan Cox

    Mrs. Druyan,
    You speak so beautifully! Its absolutely lovely. Thank You

  • Arnar Valur Sonur Jóns

    I love you both! <3

  • Mike Traversy

    Yeah you guys rule. Neil, you’re my hero!! Love everything about cosmos, the score, the intro!!! WOW! So awesome.

  • Miguel Espirito Santo

    Damn those feels at 34 mins T_T Ann You are the greatest! 🙂

  • Beautiful interview. Thank you!

  • Beautiful interview. Thank you!

  • Pingback: This Sunday: Accomplished Women, Strange Science, Urban Legends, Aliens, Powerful Beings and God. | StarTalk Radio Show by Neil deGrasse Tyson()

  • Aniket Kadam

    That was really amazing. I had to stop at the 33 minute mark because I haven’t seen all of Cosmos yet and I just want to see what happens.

  • Marissa Lewis

    one of my first memories is been sitting with my dad watching Cosmos: a personal voyage, on a black and White tv. Years after when i was a teenager i saw a rerun on cable, so when i grew a Little bit more, I put Cosmos to mi children. and now, i have cried many times in front of the tv, watching Cosmos: a spacetime oddissey with my dad and my children, i can not describe how science in an aprochable way has change my perspective of the world and of my self. so thank you Ann and thak you Neil!!
    Marisa 🙂
    (sorry about my english . I´m from Mexico)

  • Farhad Hossain Masum

    This startalk features two of my most favorite human being alive today. And they talked so much about Carl Sagan, who was/is the most amazing science communicator and the most extraordinary human being to my knowledge. Words will fall short if I start describing how much I love that man.

    A few days ago I saw Neil Tyson in New Orleans, it was a milestone type of event for me. My biggest regret will remain that I never got to see Carl in front of me. Thanks to science and technology that we live in an age where thoughts can be preserved in books, audios, and videos.

    Thanks, Neil, for this Star Talk and everything you do.

You Can Also Listen On

Music in This Episode