A phrase often associated with noted astronomer and science writer, Carl Sagan
One of the things that got the phrase "billion
s and billions" associated with Carl Sagan (other than his book
by that name) is the interesting vocal inflection
s he placed upon the B's and S's when saying it (he said it quite often of many topics). He placed an emphasis on the B in Billions with a slight nasal inflection and an open (but accentuated), loose cheeked release. The S's in Billions were pronounced like soft Z's.
These interesting pronounciation
s were not limited to the word Billions, however, as Sagan seemed to have a similar tendency
with other words beginning with closed mouth letters and ending with the letter "s".
Mr. Sagan used the phrase quite often in attempting to describe, in layman
's terms, the number of stars in the universe
, but also used it in various other descriptions of particles and macro-objects such as galaxies
An excellent example of Mr. Sagan's vocal patterns (as well as some excellent scientific, historical, and astronomical observations) can be found in the 1980 PBS
series entitled "Cosmos
", which is available as a VHS set.