Neil deGrasse Tyson - Beyond Earth in "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry" - Extended Interview

Extended - August 28, 2017 - Neil deGrasse Tyson 08/28/2017 Views: 56,966

Neil deGrasse Tyson weighs in on why climate change is subject to political debate and examines the privilege of wondering about space in "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry." (8:25)

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Neil deGrasse Tyson!

-♪ -(cheering and applause)

Oh. Welcome to the show.

Dude. I-I've... You know,I've been around for two years,

and I've never beenon your show.

-Well, well, well, well...-You know, just...

I want to be clear,we've had colliding black holes,

-an eclipse, space probes.-Well, no, no, no.

-And you don't call, you don'twrite. -Here's-here's my thing.

-Here's my thing. Here'smy thing. -You don't text.

If you understandhow time works,

it may feellike it's been two years.

But under Trump,time has collapsed onto itself,

and, essentially,it's only been a week.

Okay, okay.

-It's only been a week. -Allright. -(cheering and applause)

-Welcome to the show. -I'llgive you that one. All right.

-Welcome to the show.-Thank you.

Uh, first and foremost,can I just say thank you

for the eclipse? I believethat was courtesy of you.

-We totally arranged that one.America's eclipse. -Yeah?

Right? That was brought to youby the scientists

in-in America, yeah? -America,yeah. It only hit... It-it...

Totality hit onlythe continental United States

-and no other country.-Can I ask you a question?

When that's happening,do you walk around

with a little bit of extra swagas a scientist?

-T... I was like, "Oh, yeah.-Like, just like, just like...

-You know? Yeah?-Oh, yeah."

You got that eclipsein your step.

No, but, r... but, really,how hard do you geek out

-for an eclipse like that?-No, it's good. It's...

-Well, eclipses are more commonthan people think. -Right.

The press makes it,"Oh, rare eclipse."

They happen every, you know,18 months, every couple of years

-somewhere in the world, so...-Yeah, but somewhere not where

-we can see them though. Like,it's we... -No. So you go to it.

-You have an airplane.-Oh, I'm sorry!

-Oh, you go to it?-You go...

You go to the eclipse!

I'm saying,if you care about 'em, you...

I got... I got people...

I got peoplewho've been to ten eclipses.

-I mean... Yeah. -Oh, wow."If you care about the eclipse."

You know how you said it? Yousaid it like you and the eclipse

are in a relationship.That's how you said it.

"Well, if you caredabout the eclipse,

you would go to the eclipse."

-That's what you would do.-Yeah, I'm just saying,

this is...But 200 million people live

within one day's driveof the path of totality

-in the United States.-Wow.

So it may have beenthe most viewed eclipse ever

-in the history of the world.-L-Let's talk about your tweet

-that you... that you sent outabout the eclipse. -Uh-oh.

-Okay. -Uh, you tweeted,"Odd. No one is in denial

"of America's August 21total solar eclipse.

Like climate change, methods andtools of science predict it."

-TYSON: Yeah.-(cheering and applause)

I'm gonna ask you this,Neil deGrasse Tyson.

-Is an eclipse the time topoliticize things? -(laughter)

It's not politicalif one speaks objective truths.

Oh.

(applause)

I'm just saying.

That's, uh...that's fancy talk for "yes."

-Uh...-(laughter)

Well, I just thought,there's everyone

-organizing their lives...-Right.

...around attending and viewing

one of nation'sgreat spectacles,

and I don't seepeople protesting it.

I don't see peopleobjecting to it.

I don't see peoplein denial of it.

Yet, methods and toolsof science predict it.

So, so when methods and tools ofscience predict other things...

-Right. -...to have peopleturn around and say,

"I deny what you say," there'ssomething wrong in our world...

-Let me ask you this. -...whenthat happens. -(applause)

-How would you...?-Yeah.

How would you convince me?

So I come to you, and I go,"Neil, I do believe in science,

"I do believein climate change,

"but I do not believethat it is manmade.

"I believe that it's changing.

Uh, I don't believe that it'sthe man who is creating it."

How-how do you tryand convince them?

I would show you the datathat show it, that display it.

-And if...-Yeah, but those are numbers.

-It depends on how you readthe numbers, Neil. -(laughter)

Yeah, so then you have anotherstudy that agrees with it,

yet another and anotherdone in a different country

with different people,with competing research groups.

And if it all leansin the same direction,

getting even approximatelythe same result,

we are on top of a new emergentscientific truth.

And if that's what you wantto stand in denial of, fine.

In a free country,you have that...

-You have the freedom to denywhatever you want. -Right.

But if you rise to power,and base legislation

on somethingthat is not objectively true,

that is the beginning of the endof an informed democracy.

-(applause and cheering)-Wow.

Let me, um...

Let me go to...

There's, uh... one of...

One of my favorite chapters inthe book is the final chapter.

And, uh, not in a bad way.

-Just, like, that's...-(laughter)

-No, no, it's becauseit's different. -Yeah.

It's "Reflections on the CosmicPerspective." Right?

Oh, yeah. There's somethingwe all have as astrophysicists.

Right, and this is somethingthat I... that I really enjoy.

You know, you speakabout the universe here.

-And I'll jump to the partthat really got to me. -Uh-huh.

You speak about the universe

and how it's millionsof light-years from earth,

and the galaxyand how it's expanding.

And then you go,"But who gets to think that way?

"Who gets to celebratethis cosmic view of life?

"Not the migrant farm worker,not the sweat shop worker,

"certainly notthe homeless person

"rummagingthrough the trash for food.

You need the luxury of timenot spent on mere survival."

That's a powerful quoteto have in your book.

That's a powerful idea to have,is to almost identity,

that to a certain extent, youhave to be in a privileged place

to wonder about the universe

-when you don't have to wonderabout your daily life. -Yeah.

Yeah, searching for food,shelter

is something that robs usof the limits of the creativity

-that the human mindcan deliver. -Right.

And so... I ended the bookwith that chapter

as a... as a pleafor people to think differently

about our lives--

take that cosmic perspectivethat you can only glean

by looking at Earthfrom high up,

from the edge of the universeand beyond.

And so this is an...this is an entire...

It's handpicked, by the way.It's for people in a hurry.

-Right. -This is not...If you are not in a hurry,

I got other books for you, okay?

Thicker, heavier books.

If you are in a hurry, thisis... this... this is for you.

-Right.-So, um, it's fundament...

But it's real... it's notastrophysics for dummies.

-First, that title was taken.But second, um, -Right.

it's real astrophysics.Don't think it's...

You're gonna still haveto pay attention.

You're not cutting corners.

No, no, I'm not cutting corners.

Let me ask you this, though.

What would you saythe importance is?

So, if I say to you: Okay, Neil,I agree with what you're saying.

There are people out therewho do not have the luxury

of pondering the universeand its expanse.

But you would arguethat it is important

for people to consider that.

I know you answer thisin the book,

but in your words,just in this interview, why?

Why is it important for peopleto think of the universe

as being largerthan just what we see on Earth?

At first, it'sintellectually enlightening.

But apart from that,if... if you think of Earth

as our only place to be,

as your life,as the only thing that matters,

as humans as the only speciesthat you want to care about,

this... that doesn't work

as a stable solutiongoing forward.

But when you look at itfrom above,

culturally, scientifically,philosophically,

then you realize that we havea connectivity to one another,

to life on Earth, to the atomsacross the universe.

It is literally true,not only figuratively true,

that the atomsthat come from us are the...

they came from the... the atomsin us came from the same place

as the atomsthat made the stars.

You know where that came from?Other stars.

As well as the beginningof the universe itself.

It's not just figuratively true,it is literally true

that we are stardust.

And this connectivity--that's almost spiritual.

And if you come out of this

thinking that differentlyabout life,

it can transformhow you make decisions--

about the present,and especially the future.

-Right.-So for me, a cosmic perspective

is a gift that...

And it's... yes,it hacks down to your ego.

Right? It's not goodfor human hubris.

You will never find legionsof astrophysicists

waging war on other countries,leading people into battle.

-Right. -'Cause we say, "Hey,dude, that's Saturn up there.

-Let's take a look." You know?-Right.

-Battles become star parties,right? -Right.

So... so... it changeshow you think about

and see the world.

So it can havereal ramifications.

It's not just a pointof curiosity that you have

after you happento have read the book.

-Wow. That's powerful.-(applause)

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is available now.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, everybody.

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