I remember this PBS series from when I was a kid. The shots of space and interviews with well spoken scientists stuck with me as I grew up and had a continued casual interest in physics and astronomy. While neither of these academic disciplines were ever my strong suit I still like to read up on the Hubble Space Telescope and whatever NASA is up to these days.
Sagan's companion to the TV series goes much further than what I remember. I did not expect the spiritual direction in which he takes the big ideas in science that he presents. The book presents the love of science that has driven humanity to continue to ask questions of the universe around us. I found this book to be as informative in its exploration of learning and inquiry as it is about the actual findings concerning the universe. It presents a truly awesome view of the universe that even delves into the way that we can use our knowledge of the physical world to live better social and spiritual lives. Good freakin' stuff!
I'm strongly considering pulling some excerpts from Cosmos to teach next year as part of a non-fiction unit.