Billions and Billions

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Billions and Billions
Billions and Billions.jpg
Author Carl Sagan
Country United States
Language English
Subject Science
Publisher Ballantine Publishing Group
Publication date
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)
Pages 322 pp.
ISBN 0-679-41160-7
OCLC 39234941
Preceded by The Demon-Haunted World
Followed by The Varieties of Scientific Experience

Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium, published by Random House in 1997, is the last book written by the renowned American astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan before his death in 1996.[1]


The book is a collection of essays Sagan wrote covering diverse topics like global warming, the population explosion, extraterrestrial life, morality, and the abortion debate. The last chapter is an account of his struggle with myelodysplasia, the disease which finally took his life in December 1996. Sagan's wife, Ann Druyan, wrote the epilogue of the book after his death.

"Billions and billions"[edit]

To help viewers of Cosmos distinguish between "millions" and "billions", Sagan stressed the "b". Sagan never did, however, say "billions and billions". The public's association of the phrase and Sagan came from a Tonight Show skit. Parodying Sagan's affect, Johnny Carson quipped "billions and billions".[2] The phrase has however, now become a humorous fictitious number—the Sagan.


  1. ^ Sagan, Carl (1997). Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium. Random House. ISBN 0-679-41160-7. 
  2. ^ Carl Sagan takes questions more from his 'Wonder and Skepticism' CSICOP 1994 keynote, Skeptical Inquirer Archived December 21, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]