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SciCafe: Life the Universe and Everything with Neil deGrasse Tyson

SciCafe: Life the Universe and Everything with Neil deGrasse Tyson


BELLA DESAI: We want to
gratefully acknowledge Josh and Judy Weston, who
make this cafe possible. And who have not only supported
this inaugural season, but who have committed to this
adventure again next year. It is so exciting to be
able to see and satisfy this tremendous public
thirst for science, and specialty cocktails. Just by show of
hands, I want to know how many people here have been
to a SciCafe at this museum before? Very nice. And how many of you have
been to more than one? How many of you have
been to all nine? Tonight is the ninth. Anyone? Anyone? Brights. Diehards. Very nice. As those of you who have
been here before know, tonight we’ve really
expanded our horizons. We’ve moved beyond the
Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth and into the Cullman
Hall of the Universe. We’re also switching
up the format tonight. Instead of our typical
speak first and then Q&A, this session is going
to be entirely Q&A. And you can tell us what you
think of this and the move to this space in our
surveys, which, as usual, we will collect at the
end of the evening. And two lucky survey
respondents will be able to win raffle tickets
for drinks later tonight. So do your surveys. 2010 marks the 10th
anniversary of the opening of this beautiful hall, the
Rose Center for Earth and Space. In celebration, we are throwing
open the doors of the universe to all of you. And I can think of no
better cosmic guide through this universe
than tonight’s host. So it is with great
honor and great pleasure that I introduce to you
the director of the Hayden Planetarium, the great
popularizer of science, Pluto’s best frenemy– [LAUGHTER] –and the man who
needs no introduction, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Thank you, thank you. This is a great turnout. I mean this is supposed to be
an intimate, coffeehouse sort of thing. So we had to move
it out of the– we had another room planned. So I want to try to at
least keep it intimate. I don’t know how,
but we’ll try, OK? Welcome to the universe here. I got to say it the
way James Earl Jones says it, (DEEP VOICE)
welcome to the universe. You are here under
this huge sphere. It is properly supported
above your head. [LAUGHTER] When we first thought
of designing it, the natural thought was
to support it from below. How else would you
support a sphere? But views from the outside,
it looked like a golf ball on a golf tee. We said, that’s not cosmic. And so the architects
figured how to support it from the sides so
that you walk under the sphere as though you are in space. So welcome to the
Hall of the Universe. And if you have a chance
before the evening’s over, you can actually find Pluto. It is a speck on
that planet wall there at the bottom, grouped
with other of its icy brethren in the outer solar
system, the Kuiper belt. That is where Pluto
appears in this facility. 10 years ago we were the
first public institution to readjust Pluto’s associations
in the solar system. And we got in big trouble with
the New York Times about that. But then the rest of
the world caught on, and so now the hate mail
has diminished significantly from third graders. [LAUGHTER] They’ve gotten over it,
and so should you I think. This evening– this is a cafe. It’s a big cafe,
but it’s a cafe. And I want this
to be principally an open session where
I will walk among you, you ask questions. I’ll toss up a few other sort
of current events-y kinds of things just to warm you up. But this will be driven by your
curiosity, not by my curiosity, OK? We have playing behind
me “The Known Universe.” It is our first YouTube video to
go viral from this institution. You may have seen it. If not, you’re not then
among the 3.5 million people who have. It’s a zoom out from the surface
of the Earth out to the edge of the known universe, produced
here in collaboration with the Rubin Museum of Art down
in Chelsea for an exhibit that’s now closed– sorry– an exhibit that studied the
ancient concepts, Far Eastern concepts of cosmologies. But we felt to
complete that story, you include modern
cosmology as well. In the zoom out– now
we’re zooming back in. So this will play
the whole night, give you something to look at. If you’re tired of looking
at me, just check it out. That’s fine. So a couple of other
current events-y things, so you know Pluto’s gone. It’s still out there, but
we have other relationships with it. We can talk about the past,
present, future of NASA. We can talk about
the black holes that were not made in the
supercollider in Switzerland. Many people thought
the world would end. And speaking of ending of
the world, there’s 2012. There are people still a
little worried about that. Anyone here dragged by
their friend to this event this evening who themselves
is still worried about 2012? Raise your hand. You can be honest. You’re afraid to
say that in this, the center of the universe. OK, but we can straighten
that out if you’d like. Other things, if
you’ve forgotten what the latest
is on dark matter, dark energy, black holes,
this is the chance. And this is a bit of
statistic that I’ve shared on some YouTube somewhere. If you haven’t seen it, you will
hear it now for the first time. There’s about 6 and 1/2, 7,000
astrophysicists in the world. There’s about 6 and 1/2, 7
billion people in the world. Divide those two numbers. What do you get? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGHTER] NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Thank you. Got geek row up here. He’s got it, he’s got the
answer, one in a million. So if you ever find
yourself in the company of an astrophysicist, that’s the
time to ask all the questions you have. Because you never know the
next time that will happen, OK? This is one of those occasions. Also we have someone here who
will be pumping questions off from the Twitterverse. Intermittently we’ll
grab one off of Twitter. I tweet the universe daily. They’re more like
cosmic brain droppings. They’re just sort of random
thoughts that I had anyway, but it’d be a shame to
keep them to myself. So earlier today– you
might have missed it– I tweeted, “actually”– I’m adding some words because
otherwise, it’s like a haiku. You wouldn’t be able
to understand it. So, “actually, America
is inching its way towards the metric system.” [LAUGHTER] No, no, wait. [APPLAUSE] We’re actually mostly metric. Our money is metric– you never
thought about that, did you? You’re not paying for things
in pounds and shillings. Our money is metric. Our engine displacement
in cars is now metric. Plus you have never in your
life consumed a quart of Pepsi, have you? It’s been liters, two
liters, three liter bottles. Wine is metric. [CHEERS] Oh, we have winos
over here apparently. What you drinking? Let me find [INAUDIBLE]. [LAUGHTER] Wine is metric. The nutrition labels are metric. They tell you how much protein,
carbohydrates, fat you’re consuming in all of your food. That’s metric. Photography is metric. The emergent field of
ammunitions and bullets– that’s metric too. But this is New York, so you
shouldn’t know about that. [LAUGHTER] Anybody here from Texas? Right here [INAUDIBLE]. So we’re inching along, and
it’s happening without anybody even taking notice. It’s slow, but it’s real, and
I think it’s irreversible. But anyhow, I’ll
go to the floor. There’ll be a microphone roving. So what you’ll have to
do is hold your hand up sort of earlier so that they
can find you with a microphone. We have one right there. Two– raise your hands. Yes, we have two high
microphones there. And they’ll come around to
you as you raise your hand, and I’ll just keep talking
until you raise your hand and pose the question. By the way, you came
in here for free. But it’s a cash bar. Don’t think– I hope
you didn’t think you got free booze, by the way. BELLA DESAI: We’ve got our
first question over here. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Our first question, yes? AUDIENCE: Hi. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Hello. AUDIENCE: I saw your interview– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Oh,
this is my space here, and I’m an educator. So I will require that you
don’t start your question with the word “um”, OK? [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] Otherwise, you
get docked a turn. OK? So start again, and
don’t start with “um.” [LAUGHTER] I know it’s hard, but it’s for
the greater good, I assure you. OK, go. AUDIENCE: I saw, um– [LAUGHTER] NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: That
was hard coming out of her. OK, go. AUDIENCE: I saw in your
interview earlier with– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: No,
um’s in the middle are OK. Just don’t start your
sentence with an um. AUDIENCE: –with Times
Magazine that you said– he asked you– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Was
this Time “10 Questions, ” The “10 Questions” interview? AUDIENCE: Yeah, yeah. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: OK. A reporter from Time
Magazine came into my office and asked 10 questions
submitted to the magazine, and then that was podcasted and
there’s a little video of it. But the podcast has
the full answer. The video was truncated so it
doesn’t bore you on YouTube. But continue, yes. AUDIENCE: OK. He asked you if
you could go back in time, which scientist you
would choose to speak with. And you said, Sir Isaac Newton. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Oh, yes. AUDIENCE: And I was just
very moved by the way that you spoke about him. And you said that he just
really felt the universe, or he really understood it. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Yes. Isaac Newton was in
touch with the cosmos. AUDIENCE: Right. And you said that he– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
But do have a question, or you just want me to– AUDIENCE: No, I was just– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Want me
to share that with everyone? AUDIENCE: Yeah, and
I just wanted to– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: You want
to be moved a second time, is what you’re saying. [LAUGHTER] You were moved that first time. Cause I’ll talk
about Isaac Newton. Me and Newton go way back. OK, shall I? AUDIENCE: Yeah. I wanted you to elaborate. Because the way you said
it, you said that he– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: I will
elaborate about Sir Isaac. AUDIENCE: OK. NEIL DEGRASSE
TYSON: I will do so. AUDIENCE: OK. NEIL DEGRASSE
TYSON: Isaac Newton. He didn’t ask me
what scientist would I see if I went back in time. He asked me, what
person do I want to meet if I went back in time. I said, it’ll be the
scientist Isaac Newton. Isaac Newton, a
British scientist. He was a professor at
University of Cambridge. He held the Endowed Chair that
Stephen Hawking now holds, the Lucasian Professor
of Mathematics. And he was a physicist. Today we would think
of him as a physicist. Back then, he was what’s known
as a natural philosopher who posed questions about the
natural world as opposed to the human world. There are human
philosophical questions, you know, like the meaning of
life and this sort of thing. Then there are natural
philosophical questions, what is the origin of the
universe and of the world? So Isaac Newton was brilliant. And I own most of anything
he’s ever written. And I sit there and
I read it, and as I read the sentences
he put to page, hair goes up on the back– I don’t actually
have hair there. But I feel it if it would. You feel like the
goosebumpy kind of thing. If I had hair on my neck, it
would be standing on edge. As I see the depth to
which he was connected to the operations of nature. There is no doubt about it. The man discovered the laws of
gravity by sitting there, OK? It’s rumored that he sat
under the apple tree. But what is certain is that he
knew in the same field of view, he saw an apple drop and the
moon in orbit around the Earth. OK, he sees the two of them. One is falling to the
ground, and the other is like up there in space. He connects the two and suggests
that the same force of gravity is operating on both of them. They’re both falling towards
Earth, he hypothesizes. Well, how is that possible? Because I can drop this
camera on the ground. [LAUGHTER] It would fall. But if it’s in orbit,
it’s not falling. But it is falling. It is. If you’re in orbit, you
are falling towards Earth, you know. He drew a diagram
to illustrate this. In fact, that diagram is on the
wall over there called Orbits. There’s someone whose head
is in front of the orbit now who is typing on his– there’s Orbits. There’s a whole Orbit panel
where we describe this. But I’ll do it for you
because I’m here in person. All right, he suggested,
suppose you had a hill, and you sort of fire a
cannonball not very fast. It was just kind of fall. Fire it a little faster. It goes farther before it
hits the ground, doesn’t it? Even faster, it will
go even farther. Now wait a minute. Earth is curved. So if you keep
this up, this thing is coming around the
back side of the Earth. So he asked himself there must
be a speed sufficiently high so that that cannonball comes
right back to the cannon. And all you have to do
at that point is duck, and the cannon ball
ought to just slide on by and stay in orbit. The fact is the
cannonball is falling every moment it’s there. The difference is
it’s going sideways so fast that the amount
that it has fallen is the same amount that the
Earth’s surface has curved away from it. That is the speed
that get you orbit. He figures this out. And that’s why the
moon is behaving the same way the apple is. The apple just doesn’t happen
to have sideways motion to bring it someplace
other than right below. And when you are in
freefall, you are weightless. That’s the coolest thing to be. We have in our
midst an astronaut. We have Tom [? Hendrick. ?]
Where are you? Please stand up. An official astronaut– –on several shuttle missions. So you’ve got to admit
being weightless was cool. It’s cool. Wait. You got to put
that on microphone. [? TOM HENDRICK: ?]
It’s cool, Neil. [LAUGHTER] NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: And so he’s
in freefall around the Earth. Not only is the shuttle
orbiter in freefall, everything in the
orbiter is in freefall. So therefore everything
is weightless. Now if you’re in an elevator
and you cut the elevator cable, up until the point you hit the
bottom, you are weightless. You’re in freefall. Here’s an experiment you do. It’s a very cool,
cheap experiment. Take a tall glass of
water and a paper cup. Make sure it’s tall, one of
those that Starbucks will– it’ll cost you $8 to get it. But you’ll get a tall cup. Fill it with water. Punch holes in the side. Obviously water is
going to leak out. The water at the bottom
hole will spew out farther than the water in holes higher. Because the water
weighs more above it. There’s more pressure at the
bottom to spray the water out. So the bottom one is
far, and the higher ones are a little less. It’s all because
of water pressure, the weight of the water. Take that cup of water
while it’s spilling, drop it into a sink. It doesn’t matter
what you drop it into, but just to minimize
mess, drop it. The instant it leaves your
hand, it is weightless because it’s in freefall. The cup is weightless. The water is weightless. And if the water has no
weight, then the water does not know to exit the
hole in the side of the cup that you punctured. So the instant you drop that
cup, the water cuts off. It just stops. And the cup falls,
hits the bottom, and spills in your sink. But while it fell,
it is evidence that the water
became weightless. The apple is weightless. The moon is weightless. That was Isaac Newton. On top of that, he discovers
the laws of motion. Famous equation, F equals ma. You may remember that from
high school physics, or not. It’s an important equation. You combine F equals ma,
and the laws of gravity gets us to the moon. It allows us to aim projectiles
and land where we want on Mars. He also discovered the
then-known laws of optics. Put light through a prism,
show that white light is composed of colors. He named the colors
of the rainbow– Roy G. Biv. You know Roy G. Biv? Roy G. Biv– red,
orange, yellow– keep going– AUDIENCE: Green. AUDIENCE: Blue. AUDIENCE: Purple? AUDIENCE: Indigo. [LAUGHTER] NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Was there
a P in Roy G. Biv’s name? [LAUGHTER] Actually, it’s purple to some
people, but to Isaac Newton, it was– AUDIENCE: Violet. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
You left out the I. AUDIENCE: Indigo. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Indigo. So he threw in– Isaac Newton had a
mystical fascination with the number seven. And so there are really to most
people only six colors there. He threw in indigo. Plus it spells Roy G. Biv. You can’t give that up. So he puts these
two– and here color is coming out of white light. This freaked out
the artists, right? Because that’s not how
colors work in art. And then he took the colors,
put them back together, got white light again. So he understood the
behavior of light, of these different bands. He came up with the laws
of optics, laws of gravity, laws of motion. And on a dare,
practically on a dare, he invented integral and
differential calculus– on a dare. Somebody said, Ike, why
do the planets orbit in this shape we call ellipses? An, ellipse, a flattened circle. Why that shape? He said, I don’t know. It comes out of my
equations, but I don’t know why it’s that
shape and not some other. I’ll get back to you. So he goes home for a couple
of months, comes back. Here’s why it’s that shape. Well, it’s actually
a cut from a cone. Take a cone, and
make cuts in it. You get an ellipse, a circle,
a parabola, hyperbola. Math people know this. This guy would know that who
got the arithmetic good earlier. And then the friend
said, that’s cool, how did you figure that out? Well, I invented calculus
to find the answer. [LAUGHTER] Most people are struggling with
it just to learn it in school. He invents it for no other
reason but a friend of him posed a challenging question. Isaac Newton, after all
of this, then turns 26. [LAUGHTER] I’m just saying. You read in the back
of one of his books called Optics,
where he discovers all of his laws of optics. In the back, he has queries. These are like stuff he hadn’t
had the time to figure out yet. Maybe some others will find out. He says, I wonder if the
stars in the night sky are just like the sun, except
much, much farther away. It was like, yeah,
it’s like, OK. I mean, he’s wondering
stuff that became entire branches of study. The crumbs off his plate are the
entire careers of other people. He then later on
would die a virgin. So these are factors you
might want to consider. I’m just saying,
just in disclosure, I just want to make sure
you’ve got all the facts. [LAUGHTER] When I read Newton, I
commune through time and feel connected
to the cosmos. And I don’t know if I
moved you a second time in recounting this, but that’s
how I feel about Isaac Newton. I have a bust of
his head on my– I have a table in my office,
and there’s a bust of his head there. Not his actual head– it’s
a casting of his head. [LAUGHTER] And he had that long hair
before that was like, fashionable for guys,
you know, today. He had those curls,
Newton curls. OK, I took a long
time answering that. Let me get your opinion. Should I spend a long
time answering it if I’ve got a lot of
places to go in the answer? Or do you want sound bite
answers to get the most– [APPLAUSE] You liked– even though
I’ll get to fewer of you? AUDIENCE: Yes. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
You’re cool with that? AUDIENCE: Yes. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Because
I’ll only flesh it out if there’s flesh to give. All right. So another– we’ll just
track the microphones. Who’s got the next one? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Yes? AUDIENCE: Hi. So a couple of weeks ago,
scientists at Fermilab announced the results of an
experiment in which they showed that in big
bang-like explosions, matter is produced at a
slightly higher proportion than anti-matter. And my question is,
if the results had been just the opposite, if
anti-matter were produced preferentially by a little
bit, could anti-matter have created the universe
that we live in now? And if so, would it
be just like this, or would we be living in
a bizarro-like universe? [LAUGHTER] NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: OK, so
let’s back up a little bit. We live in a world
that’s actually uncommon for what goes on
routinely in the universe. If you go to the center
of the sun, for example– I don’t recommend
this, but if you went to the center of the sun
and you managed to not get vaporized, you would
find that the light that is passing your head– it’s primarily x-rays,
little bit of gamma rays. It’s mostly x-rays. And there’s other light too,
but it’s dominated by x-rays. X-rays is just
another band of light. Isaac Newton didn’t know that. He didn’t know everything. The whole spectrum–
we have Roy G. Biv. On the other side of the
V, we have ultraviolet, invisible to our eyes. We can detect it though. You detect it by– oh, sorry– you detect
it by your sunburn. You detect it a little too late. See, it’s a time delay there. And then you really detect
it with skin cancer. Beyond ultraviolet,
you have x-rays– we can’t detect those either– and then gamma rays. You could eventually
detect these. But again, we detect them
with cancers and things. It’s not an effective
way to detect it. Go to the other side of
red, we find infrared. Can’t see that either. Beyond that, we have microwaves
and then radio waves. All of it is light. It all travels at
the speed of light. So if you go into the sun,
here are these x-rays. They have such energy. These are photons of light. They have so much energy. Energy goes up with violet,
ultraviolet x-rays, gamma rays. It goes up. It goes down in the
other direction. It has so much energy
that you can ask, what happens if you plug that
energy into the equation E equals MC squared. Just do that. If that’s the
energy on the left, what comes– what M, what
mass equivalent is that? And you know what you find out? It has so much energy, it could
spontaneously make matter. It can make a pair of
electrons on its own. So in the center
of the sun, matter is being forged out
of the soup of energy every moment of the sun’s life. Now what kind of
matter does it make? It makes an electron and an
anti-electron, a positron. Matter and antimatter pit– anti-matter is real. We invented it, not the
science fiction writers. I know they’ve taken command
of it, but it’s our idea. We’ve got to get
credit when we can because the science fiction
writers can be so good at this. So when you have high
enough energy for the light, it will spontaneously
become matter. And the matter, anti-matter
pair come back together. It makes the x-rays again. It’s a soup that’s
unfamiliar to us. We don’t see that. Visible light doesn’t do that. It’s not energetic enough. It just stays as light
or gets absorbed, but doesn’t become energy. It doesn’t become particles. In the early universe, this
went on big time, big time. And it’s one of the symmetry
laws of particle physics that light becomes
two particles, matter and anti-matter. You bring them together,
they become light again. It’s always symmetric, always. Yet we’re made of matter. Where’s the anti-matter? So there’s some discussions
that if an alien came and landed from another galaxy,
before you shake its hand or whatever appendage
it’s offering you, [LAUGHTER] flip it a coin. If the alien spontaneously
explodes, it’s anti-matter. [LAUGHTER] Just always be ready to have
something else touch the alien. So anti-matter are perfect
counterparts to matter. So something happened
in the early universe to create an asymmetry. It’s one of the mysteries
of the early universe. One out of 100 million of these
particle-antiparticle pairs– one out of 100 million of them
was just a particle and not the anti-particle. 100 million. I mean, it’s rare,
but it happened enough to account for all the
matter that we know and see and love in the universe. There’s no reason to think that
if it happened the other way, that we would just
be anti-matter talking about matter
aliens, flipping them an anti-matter penny. But then they probably wouldn’t
call themselves anti-anything, right? So yes, it’s one of
the great mysteries in the early
universe– how it came to be that there’s an asymmetry
in this very symmetric process that we see all the time. So that’s a long answer, but you
get the full context of that. And it effects the
Big Bang as well as what’s going on in
the center of the sun. And technically it’d
be called symmetry breaking, more broadly. You can Google wiki
symmetry breaking, and they talk about
the laws of physics that are broken by some
phenomenon or process in the early universe. Who’s got the microphone? BELLA DESAI: We have
another question over here. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: You have
to be more triangulating. AUDIENCE: Hi. I’m still right here. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Oh, there we go. Thank you. AUDIENCE: I hope this
isn’t too off-topic, sorry. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
This is the universe. How could it possibly
be off-topic? AUDIENCE: Well, OK,
this is in the universe. Then this is in the universe. Because I don’t know– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: As long
as it’s in the universe. AUDIENCE: –I don’t know when
I’ll have an astrophysicist to ask this of again. So in light of current events
involving the BP oil spill and– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Oh by the way– AUDIENCE: –something
that I read in– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: By the way? AUDIENCE: Yeah? NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Everyone blames BP, but it’s our oil spill. AUDIENCE: The oil spill
that’s currently– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
We all use oil. –a AUDIENCE: Disaster in
our world right now. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
We all fill our cars. We are collectively– AUDIENCE: Without a doubt. So in light of
that and something that I read in The
Times on Sunday saying that we know
more about deep space than we do about the deep sea– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Indeed. AUDIENCE: –would you
suggest that perhaps we should spend more time
studying things that we don’t know in our world? And as an
astrophysicist, can you suggest anything that might be
done that they are not trying? NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: OK, so
there are two questions there– how do we help BP
fix the problem, and should we spend more
money on Earth than in space? But you linked them
into the same question. That’s awesome that
you managed to do that. I only had one
suggestion for BP, and I tweeted this a
couple of days ago. I said, what’s all this effort
trying to plug the hole? It’s coming out of the ground. Ultimately that’s what we want
the oil to do anyway, right? Why don’t we put another pipe
and fill a barge with it? So I just tweeted that, because
it seems to me be easier. Then I later learned that they
tried that, but that failed. But that’s got to be easier
than trying to stop the leak. Can’t you just put another– OK, I got to come in here. I mean you do this
as a kid, right? You put pieces of
things together, and you finally get one,
you put it in a barge. We need the oil later on anyway. We probably need it
right now, all right? So I don’t understand why that
wasn’t their first thought. One of my concerns
about this failure is that it’s actually
an engineering failure. And if you create a
world absent of engineers because all the smart people
who would have become engineers had no grand plans
to go into as a job– in the 1960s we were
going to the moon. Even though it was a
militarily-driven enterprise, it attracted scientists,
engineers, mathematicians to want to become those fields. When there’s a
disaster that happens, I don’t want people seeing,
oh, we plug it with golf balls. What kind of solution is that? Where is the genius that we know
the human mind is capable of? Well I think they all became
investment bankers or lawyers. They’re not scientists
and engineers. So the fewer scientists and
engineers in your midst, the more susceptible
you are to the failure of your infrastructure,
because you don’t have people thinking
about how to prevent it in the first place. For example, the day we find
the asteroid is coming– there is one coming. If there’s time,
we’ll get to it. But just if there’s
time, I don’t know. We might– So the asteroid’s coming. Most people, you
know what they’ll do? They’ll say, run. Stockpile food. That’s not who I want
sitting next to me. The person I want
next to me saying, how can we deflect that? That’s a different brain. That’s a brain that sees a
natural disaster as a problem to be solved not as a
disaster to run away from. And if you don’t have
engineers, no one is thinking that, nobody. They’re just thinking how to
run away from the problem. That’s a problem in
our modern society. So now, getting back to
spending money on Earth and not in space, that’s
a common criticism of NASA actually. Why are we spending
money up there when we’ve got perfectly good
problems down here to solve? And I hear that. It’s not that I don’t
hear that question. But it’s missing some context– some context. For example, did you know that
global climate change did not exist as an understood
problem on Earth until we studied the effects– well I say we, we
the community– studied the effects
of the asteroid impact that took out the dinosaurs
65 million years ago. There’s a whole portfolio of
reasons everybody’s giving for what killed the dinosaurs. Then we find a 200
mile diameter crater off the Yucatan
Peninsula in what is now Mexico dated
to 65 million years ago when all the
dinosaurs croaked. And I’m saying,
we’ve got an asteroid that took out the dinosaurs. You’re going to talk
about it was cold or that they had a virus– I’ve got an asteroid. So that forced
people to ask, well, if you weren’t in
the 200 mile diameter where we know you’re
toast, how might you have died around the Earth. So you look at the fires
that would have been created. You look at the Earth’s crust
cast into the atmosphere. You notice that it cloaks earth,
blocking sunlight from reaching the photosynthetic plants. If you take out the
base of the food chain, then a wave of
extinction percolates across the tree of life. We learned about this. This forced the climate models
to understand global climate in a way no one ever had the
occasion to think of before. That’s when it was born,
not because somebody was looking down. I got the solution here. I’m looking down. I’ll figure it out. No, sometimes you
have to look up. Do you know that planetwide
greenhouse effect was first discovered on Venus? Venus has a really
bad greenhouse effect. It’s 900 degrees
Fahrenheit on Venus. And I did the math. You could cook– you over there? Sounded like she was
planning to visit Venus and now she’s got to
cancel the vacation plans. Venus is so hot, you could
take a 16 inch pepperoni pizza, put it on the window sill, and
it will cook in nine seconds. That’s hot. You would vaporize as well. So this is a thought experiment,
if you could do this. So global greenhouse effect,
it was understood there before we could then
bring it to Earth. Earth is not some island
in the middle of nowhere. It is connected to the cosmos. And no science can claim an
understanding of its subject if its subject is
numbered only one. You need multiple objects
to compare and contrast. That’s how you learn– what is special, what is
not special, what is real, what the phenomena are. And so to say let’s only spend
the money here, that’s suicide. Not only that, how
much does NASA get? I have done this experiment. I ask people, those that
say, why are we spending, these people. I asked, well how much do
you think NASA’s getting? Here’s your tax dollar. I’ll pull out a dollar. Here’s your tax dollar. How much are they getting? Here we go. Got my dollar. Oops. that’s a five. Wait a minute. Oops, that’s another five. There we go, dollar, tax dollar. How much? Here’s your tax dollar. Is it $0.10, $0.20, $0.30. How much is NASA getting? It is getting one
half of one penny of this tax dollar, 1/200. You’re not even in the ink yet. Here, you’re in the edge. That pays for the rovers,
the space station, the space shuttle, the Hubble telescope,
all the NASA centers, NASA headquarters, all of that. And I ask you, how much is
the universe worth to you? [APPLAUSE] Let’s get a question
from the Twitterverse. Where’s my Twitterverse list? AUDIENCE: We’ve got a
Twitter question over here. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: You
can pick the question. AUDIENCE: Um– NEIL DEGRASSE
TYSON: She put an um in front of every
Twitter question. AUDIENCE: I’m joking Dr. Tyson. So a tweet from focalmatter. When will– NEIL DEGRASSE
TYSON: focalmatter. AUDIENCE: focalmatter. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
That sounds like a geek tweet is coming right there. AUDIENCE: When will mankind
see interplanetary travel? NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: That
sounds like a deeper question than it actually is, being
when are we going to Mars. That’s what that is, unless
he meant interstellar travel. AUDIENCE: Interplanetary. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
We’re not going to Venus. I ain’t going. If you’re going, you
ain’t coming back. It’s one of those one way trips. Mars is the only other sensible
planet we could possibly visit. And in the current NASA
budget, which has actually increased from previous years
under the Obama administration, it has plans to develop what
we call heavy lift vehicles. Heavy lift would enable you
to not only reach orbit, as current launch vehicles
do, but to go beyond low Earth orbit like we did back in 1972. And those vehicles you’d be
able to scale them in such a way so that they would
get us to Mars, beyond the moon on to Mars. If that all goes well,
surely before mid-century. And one of my concerns,
however, is the motivation for going into space. If it’s not clearly defined,
it may never happen. In the 1960s we told
ourselves, we’re discoverers. We’re Americans. We explore. Meanwhile the subtext was we’re
at war with the commies, right? And it was like beat
the commies to space. That’s really what that
flow of monies was doing. And so if we want
to go to Mars, I don’t believe the nation can
rally around the simple quest to explore. The history of
human civilization does not support that. But what does support it
is the urge to get rich. So we find like oil on Mars,
we’ll be there like next week. We’ll be fine. Rockets will be there. So I’d say by 2050. Another question? We’ve got to go where
the microphones are. AUDIENCE: This side of
the room, creator side? NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: I need
more creative side, thank you. Yes. Where are we? AUDIENCE: At you’re Beyond
Belief 2006 lecture, you said– NEIL DEGRASSE
TYSON: Were you were or did you watch the YouTube? AUDIENCE: I watched the YouTube. You said that what
stopped Middle Eastern scientific progress was
a theological takeover. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Yes. AUDIENCE: Do you think
that’s happening– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
That’s a shorthand for what I said, but yeah. I built the case a little
more elegantly than that. AUDIENCE: Do you think
that’s happened here in light of what’s happening
with scientific textbooks in Texas and things like that? NEIL DEGRASSE
TYSON: Yeah, I just read recently about the
plight of textbooks in Texas. I spent some time in
Texas, six years actually. And of course Texas has
Johnson Space Center. These are the folks
who track everything we put in orbit with humans on it. After it passes the launch
tower in Cape Canaveral, all command goes
over to Houston. So Texas is a fundamental
part of our space enterprise, culturally and historically. So for them to now have
textbooks where the science content is altered to
be different from what is going on in mainstream
science worries me greatly. What you’re referring to,
the talk that I gave at that lectures in San Diego
2006, it referenced what was going on a
thousand years ago. A thousand years ago,
the intellectual center of the world was Baghdad– Baghdad. Europe was busy disemboweling
heretics at the time. Baghdad was open to all thought
at the time, between AD 800 and 1100, around there. If you look at the advances
that unfolded in that period in that location, it includes
the invention of algebra. Algebra is an Arabic word. Algorithm is an Arabic word. 2/3 of the stars in the
night sky that have names have Arabic names. How does that happen? Where did the naming
rights come from? It came from the fact
that at that time, huge advances in the Middle
East, in Baghdad in particular, was unfolded in
engineering, mathematics, especially mathematics,
astronomy, navigation, physiology. And you say, well
why is that so? If you look at
what was going on, they were open to all
lines of thought– Jews, Muslims, Christians. There were doubters back then. Today we would
call them atheists. They would all come around
the table and share ideas. If you have some philosophy
that’s got holes in it, someone’s going to
find it, and they’re going to challenge
you on those ideas. And what happens is the
conversation ratchets up. You discard what doesn’t
work and you keep what does. And when you do that,
you make discoveries, and you make
discoveries rapidly. And at the time, that
period drew to a close. If you read history
books, they’ll typically describe sort
of the sacking of Baghdad. It was a bad time for the city. And they’ll say, oh,
it all came to an end. However, the Islamic culture
rose at other times later. And in those other times,
science and engineering discoveries were
not a part of it. So we ask, why not? You’ve got the
cultural heritage. Why doesn’t it show up again? And then you’ve got
to dig a little deeper from the sacking of
Baghdad and you find out there was a Muslim
cleric, al-Ghazali was his name, who was to
Islam what St. Augustine was to Christianity. St. Augustine kind
of laid out the rules for how to be a good
Christian at the time. A lot of people were
practicing it in their own way. He codified it. He was a religious
scholar, figured it out according to his own read,
told everybody how to behave. There’s the book. You follow this, you’re
a good Christian. Al-Ghazali said you follow
this, you’re a good Muslim. In that text included
the assertion which gained influence
socially but then politically, so then it had
power of influence. In there was the
assertion that mathematics and the manipulation of numbers
was the work of the devil. The entire enterprise
collapsed and never recovered. It has not recovered since. If you look at the
number of Muslims who have won the Nobel Prize
in the sciences, it’s one. Number of Jews who have
won the Nobel Prize? 1/4 of all Nobel prizes in
science have been won by Jews. How many Muslims in the world– 1.3 billion. How many Jews in the world– 15 million tops. So you look at what effect
the culture of discovery and learning can
have on what you discover about the natural
world, it’s extraordinary. So just because you’re
making discoveries doesn’t mean it’s forever. And I look at the 20th
century in America as a period of great discovery. And then I see forces
now operating against it. And then I look at the history
of the consequences of this, and I see America just simply
fading into insignificance. No, it’s not off of a cliff. It’s just a slope. And every next day
you’re a little bit further down on the slope. You barely notice it, right? And so one day you
can’t see over the hill that you just came from. And then you try to make do
with what you have down here, and then you find out it’s
the rest of the world making the inventions and not you. You’re trailing,
no longer leading. You’re not even abreast
with what’s going on. You’re running behind
trying to catch up. Have a nice day. AUDIENCE: We’ve got a
question right here. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Another question, yes. AUDIENCE: Sir, part of the– NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Look how many pens you’ve got in your pocket. I smell geek. How many pens you got– 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. We’ve got a geek right
here in our midst. Raise your hand,
give him a head. [APPLAUSE] AUDIENCE: What you have is
a 70-year-old questioner. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
OK, go for it. AUDIENCE: Part of the basis
for the Big Bang theory is the redshift that occurs as
the galaxies accelerate away from us. How do you distinguish
that redshift from that which would occur
from the aging of those that are older because
they were born first, one. And two, because there
is this Big Bang theory, you should be able to calculate
the trajectories of all the galaxies and figure
out where the center was. Can that be done? NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Excellent questions. So the first one,
yes, for those who have been living
under a rock, we live in an expanding universe. We know this because we
look out to the universe, we see galaxies. And in a discovery made
by Hubble, Edwin Hubble– back in 1929 it was first
published– he noted– But are there people
behind the meteorite here? I’d look at you every now
and then here but I can’t. Hi. I’m thinking about you. I’m thinking about you. But this is really
cool to look at. And by the way,
right there, this is where Stephen Colbert
licked it, right in that spot, just so you know. Stephen Colbert visited the Rose
Center one afternoon worried that his comedy talk show
host job would be in jeopardy, and he wanted a fallback
job as an astrophysicist. So he had me train him to be an
astrophysicist that afternoon. And so I showed
him the meteorite. And he just decided to lick it. And then I said,
“That’s the oldest thing your tongue
has ever touched, at 5 billion years old.” He said, “No, I once had
Jane Fonda on my show.” So I was like, whoa,
where’s that come from? Then I dug up a YouTube clip. And Jane Fonda is
on the show, and she saunters around the table, sits
in his lap, and tongue kisses him. So this is like in his head
when that was happening. But I digress. Jane Fonda and the Big Bang
in the same sentence here. So we see the galaxies. And Hubble noticed this. He used data provided
to him by others, Humason and Slipher, two very
brilliant experimentalists. In the astronomical world
we call them observers. So they look at the
galaxies and you find out that the spectrum– credit Isaac Newton,
the spectrum. There are features in a
spectrum that we attribute to various chemical elements. Carbon has a fingerprint
revealed in a spectrum. Oxygen has a
separate fingerprint. I use a fingerprint
almost literally here. Every element has its own
signature in the spectrum. So you know what the
pattern of lines of features looks like on Earth. You look at the galaxy,
you find that same pattern, but it’s shifted. You say, well how
much does it shift? That means the galaxy
is moving away from us. We learned this from Christian
Doppler, a German physicist in the 1800s. He did an experiment
with a train. And so what happens? The train whistle goes by. We know this intuitively even
if you’ve never thought it. It doesn’t go– well, let’s
do it with a race car, because I can make
that sound better. The car goes,
[IMITATES RACE CAR] Did I get it right? That’s pretty good, right? I can do that
better than a train. So the car does not go,
[IMITATES RACE CAR]. It doesn’t do that, does it? No. It doesn’t go,
[IMITATES RACE CAR]. It doesn’t do any of that. It goes, [IMITATES RACE CAR],
high pitch to low pitch. So the sound waves up
front, every sound wave it makes, it now travels
closer to that sound wave before it makes the next wave. So the wavelength is shorter. The pitch is higher. And when it recedes, the sound
waves get stretched apart. You get a lower pitch. So analogizing what we
see in the universe, you can conclude– I’m getting there. You can conclude that
the galaxies that show the shift to longer
wavelengths of light are moving away from us. They indeed were. He then noticed that if
you were twice as far away, the object was
moving twice as fast. And he looked in every
direction and found like we had some kind of case
of cosmic BO or something. All the galaxies were
scattering away from us, all except for a couple
that are really nearby, like the Andromeda Galaxy,
which we will collide with in a few billion years. More on that later,
if you’re interested. We’ll get the meteorite
before that because that will be more important. So it later turns
out Einstein shows us that this redshift is not
specifically a Doppler shift. It’s what we call a
cosmological redshift. It shifts because space
itself is expanding. And so the wave, as it
moves through space, gets stretched in the
expansion, the fabric of space and time itself. And so if everybody’s moving
away, turn the clock back. You can ask the
question, when was it all in the same place
at the same time? That was 14 billion years ago. That’s how we date the Big Bang. We look around,
turn the clock back. And which way is
everybody going– back to the same spot. It looks like we’re
at the center. But the signature
of this expansion would be revealed no
matter where you are. If you go to this
other galaxy over here, this expanding fabric
of the universe would look like it’s centered
on this galaxy as well. So everybody was at the
center 14 billion years ago. There’s not some
center somewhere else. We all occupied it
in a different state at the same time at the same
place 14 billion years ago. Did I answer both questions? AUDIENCE: Redshift
[INAUDIBLE] aging [INAUDIBLE]. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Oh aging, yes. So how do we know
this shift is not because the thing’s
getting older? Because if you’re
getting older, you might have some
red stars in there. It doesn’t actually
shift the lines. You can change the color
but without shifting the pattern of lines. That’s why we look
at the fingerprint. Fingerprint is here,
there, or there. You’ve got it. Then you know it’s not
something else going on. Let’s get another
Twitterverse question. You got one? Now you can start
with um and we’ll know you’re just
messing with me. Let’s hear a good um. AUDIENCE: Uh, Dr. Tyson, this
is a tweet from the aura. NEIL DEGRASSE
TYSON: The aura, OK. AUDIENCE: What
percentage of outer space is estimated to
have been observed, and what is estimated
that can be observed? NEIL DEGRASSE
TYSON: OK, there are parts of the universe that
are blocked from our view because we live in a pancake– a pancake. So imagine we are a
blueberry in a pancake. Now most blueberries
are slightly wider than the width of
your pancake, most. So they sort of punch
out above and below. Our galaxy is like the pancake. We are like the blueberry. If you want to see the
rest of the universe, you have to look above
and below the pancake, because otherwise the
pancake itself is in the way. So all the data we
have on this universe comes to us from looking above
our flattened Milky Way galaxy and below it, all the data we
have on cosmology and the like. And so in the known
universe, in fact, there is a part where,
since we’re only showing you the known universe,
it means where there isn’t the known
universe, you get to see the unknown universe. It’s the absence of
the known universe. And so I will
monitor it and I’ll show you the cut through
the sky where we don’t yet have deep data on the universe
because we’re stuck inside of a dense disk of clouds, of
gas and dust that prevents view from outside. So here we are rising from the– oh, you guys can’t see. So I’ll describe it for you. We are now elevating
above Earth. Earth is [INAUDIBLE]. We now get to see how thin
Earth’s atmosphere is. If earth were a schoolroom
globe shrunk to that size, then Earth’s atmosphere would
be the thickness of the lacquer on that school room globe. Yet we think of it as
this huge ocean of air, but it is, in fact, not. And if Earth were a
school room globe, the moon would be 30 feet away. Mars would be a mile away. The space station
and space shuttle would be orbiting 3/8 of
an inch above its surface. NASA tells us that
that’s going into space. That’s boldly going
now where hundreds have gone before is what that is. So we are still
ascending from Earth. It’s a slow ascent. Actually it would
be a while before we get, at least a minute
or two, before we get to the edge of the
known universe there. So there are sections. So I would say we have mapped
to the edge of the universe. We have looked in, I would
say, 80% of the universe. We’re not given reason to
think that if we could look in those blocked zones
they would be fundamentally different from the other 80%. So nobody’s really worried
that there are like gremlins on the other side of this zone. And by the way, for
a while that was known as the zone of
avoidance, because we didn’t see any galaxies in that band. But it’s not that the
galaxies were avoiding it. It’s that they were
simply not visible to us. You can see the cloud,
the cloudy band. That is the Milky Way. Milky Way is not visible
from New York City, but it is up there– well sorry, it’s visible from
the Hayden Sphere above us. If you come to one of our
celestial highlights evenings, you’ll get to see the night sky. And so there’s the
galaxy in view. I’m still giving you a
play by play, you guys who are behind the screen. And we’re still zooming out. Eventually the
constellations will distort. People think constellations
are real things with real– it’s just this pattern that
you happen to see from Earth. And we’re still expanding. Now here we go. That’s the radio bubble. That edge of that bubble
has like Howdy Doody radio show on it. And so there’s our
galaxy, the Milky Way. And so now you’ll see data. Now you’ll see these
empty spots in the data. Just watch as the nearby
galaxies come into view. You will see these– almost, give it a chance. Here we come. Now take a look at these
two swaths above and below. It looks like a
butterfly diagram. Those two swaths are sight
lines unavailable to us because our own freaking
galaxy is in the way. So I give it about
80% of the universe. Other questions? Who’s got the mic next? AUDIENCE: There’s only time
for a few more questions. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Oh my goodness, OK. AUDIENCE: This one’s from
behind the meteorite. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Behind the meteorite. Oh, you do have your voice. AUDIENCE: Right over here. This, Tyson, is
for you personally. Me NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Personally, sure. AUDIENCE: At what
point in your life was it that you became, like,
this is what I want to do? I grew up with a very affluent
family and they were like, OK, let’s just check out– astrophysics was a very big
part of my life growing up. And you get to a
point, like Carl Sagan was to me almost a
god as a younger guy. And growing up, like
you, you’ve brought back the passion that’s in there. That’s kind of
something that’s been lost for almost two decades. At what point in your life,
where was it like, this is it, and this is what I want to be? I mean, you’ve brought back
a lot of the passion to it that’s kind of been missing
for a very long time. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Well thank you. I would say that the passion,
I almost can’t control it. Like the universe is– [APPLAUSE] When was it? I was nine years old. Where was I– in the dome
of the Hayden Planetarium. How did I get there? My parents took me, my
brother, and my sister on another weekend trip to the
cultural offerings of the city. And if it wasn’t here, it would
have been at the art museum or at the plays or even
operas and weird stuff that, if you’re 10 years
old, it’s just kind of weird. But we got that exposure. And there I am. I’m in the dome. I’m looking up. The lights dim. The stars come out. Now I grew up in the Bronx. And in the Bronx we say– [APPLAUSE] We got Bronx in the
house, apparently. In the Bronx we say “da Bronx.” All right, so I’m there. The stars come out. And I say, oh, that’s charming. That’s an interesting hoax. There aren’t that many
stars in the night sky. I’ve seen all eight of them
from the Bronx, I know. All right, this is a lot, but
I’ll go along with it anyway just to humor them. And I’m there, and then that
voice comes over, you know, that planetarium voice. That’s the next thing
to God you’ll ever hear is the planetarium
director’s voice coming out of the sky. And we know move to looking
east into the setting sun. It’s like, so
you’re there, right? And at that point it’s as though
I had no choice in the matter and the universe called me. And from then on I knew there
was something really cool about the universe. It would take two
years until I was 11 to know that it
could be a career. At nine [INAUDIBLE]
to say, well, how am I going to make money? You’re not thinking that. 11 I knew enough
that it was time to direct my life in such a
way for it to become a career. And so thenceforth I started
taking extra classes here at the Hayden Planetarium. I still have certificates
of graduating from those classes signed by
the director at that time. When I became director,
I swore that I would try to have the
influence on others that the educators and
scientists back then had on me. And until just
recently, until we shifted our
programmatic offerings, I signed those
certificates of those who had graduated
from the courses just as the director had
signed my certificates. [APPLAUSE] I signed them with my pocket
full of pens, all right? So that’s how and that’s why. And as Carl Sagan said,
when you’re in love, you’ve got to tell the world. And so it’s not a
hard bug to catch. It’s pretty easy to catch. And everyone I
know has caught it. They’re off. They’re doing it. And in fact when I
was a kid, I thought, I don’t want to be an
astrophysicist because everyone will want to be– if they knew this,
they’d all want to be it and there’d be no jobs. You know, I had that
though, a crazy thought. Then I found out, no, most
people actually don’t care. Maybe that can change. Let’s take a few more questions. I’m amazed time went so quickly. The lady who wants
to go to Venus, yes? AUDIENCE: Funny. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
You’re the one who squealed when I talk about
cooking a pepperoni pizza. AUDIENCE: Well that’s because
I’m only 29, so you know. Here’s my question. The future of NASA is a
big concern for those of us who kind of believe in the
preservation of our planet and the world in which we live. Can you elaborate on what
the status is with that? And then can you talk about
that little old asteroid that’s supposed to be coming. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Oh she
wants me [INAUDIBLE] asteroid. Right now there’s a political
battle going on in Congress regarding what happens over the
next several years with NASA. The Obama plan, as
it was put forth, would shift emphasis from
the kind of launch vehicles that served the shuttle to
the kind of launch vehicles that would serve a trip to
Mars, bypassing the moon. Meanwhile there
are people, there’s a huge industry built up
that serves the shuttle. Meanwhile there’s
a whole community of people who want to
go back to the moon. I would even count
myself among those. My next trip out
of low Earth orbit, I’d want that to be
a four year journey. I want to remind
myself how to do this. And the moon is three days away. You can do that in
a news cycle, right? You can get there and
back, check the engine, kick the tires and make
sure everything’s working. But I don’t jump in the
middle of that debate. I actually celebrate, because
I try to be stratospheric here. I’d rather celebrate the
fact that we have the luxury to argue over what NASA’s
next destination would be rather than worry about
NASA’s budget at all. So I think it’s
actually a happy time that we’re having these
debates, debates in Congress, and you know, putting
Neil Armstrong against the next
generation entrepreneurs. And so there’s some
jockeying going on. But I don’t get in the
middle of those fights. So the concern is if we
break our manned presence in space for five years, maybe
it’ll never come back at all. That’s always a risk. You cut a budget in the
government and something else happens, some other
priority comes up, it’s easy to never
bring it back again. Do you know the
pyramids in Egypt? They stopped building pyramids. I don’t know if they ran out of
pharaohs to build pyramids to or they ran out of money. One day they stopped. Do you know the top of
the tallest pyramid? Do you know what year we
built something taller than that pyramid, after
that pyramid was built? Anybody know? It was in the Paris
Expo, the Eiffel Tower was the first object we ever
built as a species taller than the pyramids. So just because you’re doing
something at one period of time doesn’t mean it will
continue forever. In fact one of my great
fears is that you end up taking it for granted because
it’s around you all the time and you forget what investment a
previous generation made in it. You just coast. What you don’t realize is
that you’re coasting downhill. And you end up, like I said,
no longer being able to see above where you needed. So there are some people
worried about that gap. I’m a little more confident. I know people working within
the Obama administration. And I met him. He seemed sincere to me. Even factoring in the charisma– even subtracting that
out, because that will be no matter what he tells you. You know, there’s
charisma there. So I’ve got a filter
for that, all right? So you filter that. Is it still real? And I got the sense
that it’s still real. But we’ll see. We’ve got to see how that goes. And your next question
was– oh, the asteroid. Oh, you’re worried
about the asteroid. Oh, wimp. Well there is an
asteroid headed our way. By the way, I’m on
YouTube describing this. Who here has not seen
that YouTube video? Really? So I’ll give you a version. This will be a live
YouTube version of it, OK? AUDIENCE: Woo! NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: OK. So, December 2004–
in fact I may have to end on this
question, because I’m going to flesh it out
in ways that there’s no way another
question can follow it. So December 2004, we discover– we again it’s my community. I’m not out there– I’m occasionally out there, but
most of the time when I say we, it’s not me. It’s just we the
astrophysicists. December 2004, we
discover an asteroid. We have a couple of data points
on its position in the sky. You look at its speed. You get a Doppler shift on it. You get its direction. You plug it into the computer. There was some 20%
chance it was going to hit Earth on April 13, 2036. Did you hear about this
asteroid when it was discovered? No, because that same week
was the Indonesian tsunami, that same week. And so rightly so it did not
lead the headlines the way the tsunami did. However, if you did
the calculation, you would show that
if it hit Earth in the center of the
uncertainty range, it would hit the Pacific Ocean
500 miles– well actually 500 kilometers west
of Santa Monica. It would plunge into the
ocean to a depth of 3 miles. It would explode at that
depth, cavitating the ocean in a hole three miles wide. Now you have a wall of
water three miles high. What happens to
that wall of water? It just spills back into
the hole that was just made, splashes into itself
and rises high again. That first impact
creates a tsunami that’s five stories tall. By the way, this asteroid’s
the size of the Rose Bowl. In other words it would fit
neatly in the Rose Bowl the way an egg does in an egg cup. What? So here’s the first wave. The first wave is just
from that first impact. You cavitate the ocean,
it fills up again, rises high into
the stratosphere, falls back, cavitates
the ocean again. Now it’s water cavitating
the ocean, not the asteroid. That sends another wave. And this repeats. Calculations show this will
repeat about 40 times– 40 times, 40 tsunamis,
one right after another. What’s interesting to me is
that that tsunami would take out the entire West Coast
of the United States, do $10 trillion
dollars in damage. It would make the Indonesian
tsunami look like a slightly over flooding puddle. So it was a lost opportunity
to compare and contrast magnitudes of disaster. It would later
make the news when better data became available. But let me explain
this tsunami to you. So it’s a wall of water
five stories tall. The next tsunami
40 seconds later, because it would be pulsed
at every 40 to 50 seconds. The next tsunami
needs that water. There’s not an unlimited
supply of water. The first wave has
got some of the water that the second
tsunami wants to use. So what happens? The first tsunami
goes in only as far– it goes 40 seconds into land. Then it pulls– well,
20 seconds into land, 20 seconds back for
the next tsunami. So in fact if you
do the calculation, you can show the
tsunami would not go past about a
quarter mile inland. You could set up a
rope, you know, like one of those club ropes
and just sit there and just watch the whole thing happen. The waves come in. They pass through the
multimillion dollar Malibu homes. The wave comes out,
brings the home with it. Next wave comes,
takes the home back, in a slightly different
shape than it was before. This process basically
ablates the entire West Coast of the United States. We would know this
in advance thanks to Isaac Newton and
his two equations he developed as a
26-year-old virgin. So actually nobody has to die. It’ll still do the 10
trillion dollars in damage. We know this in advance. But I thought about it. There are two people who
will die, two people. And you know who they are. They’re the idiot surfer who
wants to get that last wave. You know, rad man. I’m going– you know,
the idiot surfer. We got one dead surfer
and one dead weatherman. You know the weatherman,
try to get the camera closer to the hurricane. You look at the waves
crashing on the [INAUDIBLE]. And the cameraman keeps
backing up and he pulls him in. One dead weatherman, two dead
people, that’s what you get. So a little later
we would learn. We would get better data. Once you discover an asteroid
and you know its trajectory, you could look in
historical photos for where it would
have been in the past if you got your
trajectory right. Then that becomes
useful data to you. It’s called a
prediscovery photo. It’s common in my field. Once you have a
general direction that something’s going in,
you just turn the clock back. Once we dug up
prediscovery photos and got some better
data later, we were able to tune what
was going to happen. So here’s what will happen. On April 13 in the year 2029– that’s one orbit away
from the 2036 date. It has a seven year
intersection orbit with Earth. On that date, April 13– which by the way is a Friday. So April 13, 2029,
this asteroid named Apophis, named for the Egyptian
god of death and darkness, named of course only after
we calculated its trajectory to intersect Earth– if it were not
going to hit Earth, we could have named it
Bambi or Tiffany, something nonthreatening, all right– Freddy. You know, something that
is not hurting anybody. Named that one Apophis. So we know for certain
that Apophis, on Friday the 13th, April 2029– it’s the size of the Rose Bowl. It will get close
enough to Earth that it will dip below Earth’s
communications satellites. It will be the biggest,
closest thing ever known to come near Earth. The communication satellites
are at geosynchronous orbit. It’s about 23,000 miles up. This will come in
at 18,000 miles. It will be visible
from northern Europe. The geek set has already
rented the hotel rooms there, so you’re out of luck,
because they did the math and they knew when and where
it was going to happen. It will look like just a
fast moving bright object across the night sky,
moving at about– what speed do I
give it– probably around 10 miles per second. That’s hauling. That’s fast. So here’s the catch. Its orbit remains
sufficiently uncertain– let me back up. In the possible
range of orbits it could have on that
fateful day, there is an interval range where
if it threads that keyhole– we call it a keyhole. It’s about a several
hundred mile range. If its orbit goes
through that range, Earth’s gravity
will be just right– or rather, just wrong so that
it will alter its orbit so that it will hit us
seven years later. So the test is, is it going
to go through the keyhole? The latest estimates are that
the likelihood, with updated data, is that the
likelihood that it will go through the keyhole
is several in a million, much better for us than the
30% first estimate or the one in 42,000 estimate that had been
around for a couple of years. So you say, oh, not a problem. There are people who bet on
the lottery with worse odds than that expecting that
they’re going to win. Would you put $10 trillion
dollars in harm’s way? Actually, any
insurance people here? I know there’s got to be. You just do the math, right?
$10 trillion dollars divided by the probability
of it hitting, spread that among the total
population of the West Coast, and you have an
insurance policy. That’s how that works, right? That’s how you calculate
insurance policies. Oh by the way, I think I
saw Steve [? Sota ?] here and my colleague. Steve [? Sota, ?]
we’ve collaborated on all the exhibits
here in the Rose Center 10 years ago on our anniversary. Steve, could you remind me
who of the famous astronomers of the past actually
invented actuarial tables? Sir Edmund Halley
invented the notion that you can calculate a
risk using actuarial tables. An astronomer did this. So it’s good to have people
who think about the universe. Who here only wanted
to look at Earth? Where did she go? Where’s my Earth woman? Did she leave? AUDIENCE: I’m here. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Yeah. Oh, she’s still here? Oh yeah, you’re sneaking
out over here on me. You’re the one who only
wanted to look at Earth. People who look up also invent
stuff, just want you to know. So the problem is if we– so we don’t know the
orbit well enough to say whether or not it’s
going to go through the keyhole. We need better data on
its location in space. So what we really want to do– and in fact one of the
plans of NASA’s next voyages is to visit an asteroid. Why not visit the asteroid
that has our name on it, that one that’s headed this way? Just call Bruce Willis. You know, that’s
all you got to do. Put him on your speed
dial, say Bruce. No, we need Bruce
Willis for the oil leak in the bottom of
the thing right now. Then we’d send him into space. He was an oil rig driller if
you remember from Armageddon. That movie was made with
a whole other universe of laws of physics, just so you
know, not from this universe. That’s how I know
aliens made that movie. So where was I before
distracted myself? AUDIENCE: Visiting asteroid. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON:
Oh visit, yeah. So here’s what you do. You go to the asteroid and
then you stick LoJack on it, something where it’s
telling us where it is to 1 centimeter per
second accuracy, its velocity and its location
with that accuracy. Then you put it back
into the equations. You sharpen the orbit. You reduce the uncertainty. And you’ll know whether it’ll
go through the keyhole or not. If it’s targeted to go
through the keyhole, all you have to do– well, if you’re like
military generals who know you’ve got
nukes in a silo, you blow the sucker out of the sky. We’ve got those folks. We know who they are, the people
who want to blow stuff up. Problem here in
America is that we’re really good at blowing stuff
up, and less good at knowing where the pieces go afterwards. We’re just less good at that. So I don’t want to
blow up Apophis. Then we have two
pieces, one headed for New York one headed for LA. I don’t want two pieces,
because we don’t know what’ll happen when you blow it up. So the kinder, gentler
solution would be to nudge it out of harm’s way. And all you have
to do is nudge it so that it misses the keyhole. And that’s only a 300 mile
nudge one way or another. And if you get it early enough,
you give it a sideways motion. I’m headed towards you. Give me a sideways
motion a few centimeters per second that accumulates. So that after enough time,
then I miss you completely. And in this case you just
have to miss the keyhole. 2029, that’s the right
amount of time in the future. Most of us will still
be alive, we hope. And we can adjust budgets
to make this happen. So all we have to do is
engage international space agencies to do this. There are none. There is no
organization to do this. And who’s going to pay for it? We would surely pay for that. But suppose it was headed
for the Indian Ocean. Doesn’t affect America. It wouldn’t affect us. So what kind of Earth insurance
policy does the world take out? How do you work that? And we have an Apollo 9
astronaut, Rusty Schweickart with a web page
called B612, dedicated to studying not only the
physics of asteroid collisions but the politics of
how to alleviate them. B612, where have I
seen that before? B612, that is the
name of the asteroid that the little
prince landed on. Aw, isn’t that the cutest
thing you ever heard? So that’s B612. So people are thinking
about it, and even some influential people. So if we don’t mobilize
in time because we have too many lawyers among
us and not engineers– we can always get on
the case of lawyers, right, because I’m not alone– how many lawyers are here? Raise your hand. Oh, there’s a lot. Yeah, there’s a lot. But everybody makes
fun of lawyers, right? In fact my favorite lawyer joke
was told to me by a lawyer. Can I tell you what that was? He said, “It’s the 98%
of all lawyers they give the other 2% a bad name.” So I thought that
was pretty funny. A lawyer told me that joke. That’s pretty good. That’s a pretty good joke. So So here’s what happens. If you we don’t
mobilize in time and it does thread the keyhole, we
still have another seven years. The problem is, it’s headed
straight for Earth now. Now when you have to
deflect it, you’ve got to deflect it by 4,000
miles, by Earth’s radius. That’s a much harder
job than deflecting it 300 miles, half of the keyhole. So I suggest that
NASA go ahead and do this just as an exercise, even
though it’s only a several in a million chance
of it hitting. I want to know that we have
the power to deflect asteroids so that we do not suffer the
same fate as our reptilian ancestors 65 million
years ago who did not have engineers among them. So that as they’re standing
there dining on our mammal ancestors for hors d’oeuvres– I’m reminded of the
Gary Larson comic. A T. rex is talking
to some other T. rex. And they’re just sitting
there just chilling. And one says, “Now is the time
to build an asteroid defense system.” Because I don’t want to be the
laughing stock of the galaxy where others know that we were
smart enough to have a space program but too dumb
to put it into effect and to save us from
our own extinction. So thank you all for
coming this evening. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Actually, wait, wait. Actually I want to– actually I have one
encore, if I may. Can I call it an encore? I have a thought that I find
completely disturbing that I just want you all to have
so that you will lose sleep tonight just as I do. Are you ready? This will be our parting
thoughts together, OK? Humans tend to be unjustifiably
hubristic about who and what we are in the animal
kingdom and in the world. Just one example. We have these books that have
optical illusions in them. Who doesn’t love a
good optical illusion? We all love optical illusions,
the simpler the better. Why do we call it optical
illusions when it really should be called a
book of brain failures, because that’s what it is. Oh my gosh, is it
out of the diagram. I can’t figure–
it’s brain failures. We don’t call it that,
but that’s what it is. We think very
highly of ourselves. We call ourselves intelligent. By what measure? Oh, so we list things that we
do that no other animals can do. So we say, oh, we have
poetry and philosophy and we have the Hubble telescope
and we compose symphonies. We’re intelligent. That is our measure. All right, well I
studied this briefly. And you ask, well, what
is the next closest species to human beings,
basically the chimp. And how much DNA do
we have in common? It’s like 98% identical DNA. But we are prone to say, oh,
but what a difference that 2% makes. All the chimp can do,
maybe it can stack boxes and reach a banana, maybe. Maybe it can combine a
few hand signals, maybe. But look what we do. So we are convinced
that whatever is in that 2% is significant. But I want to pose to
you a disturbing thought. Maybe the difference in our
cognitive capacity between us and chimps, we and chimps,
maybe that difference is as small as that 2% suggests. Maybe the Hubble
telescope and our greatest of operas and music
and poetry is not much different from stacking
boxes and reaching a banana. You say, Tyson, how could
you say– what are you– just look. Look. Well that’s hubris. Because imagine in whatever
it is this cognitive scale– well by the way,
the smartest chimps, the primatologists
roll them forward, and they’re doing
what our toddlers do. Isn’t that right? Our toddlers can stack boxes. Our toddlers can
put up an umbrella. Our toddlers can
make sign language. That’s what our toddlers do. But those are smart chimps
studied by the primate experts. Imagine a species 2% beyond
us in the same scale in which we are 2% beyond the chimp. How smart would they be to us? Well let’s just
think about that. If they’re as smart
compared to us as we are to
chimps, then to them there will be no difference
between stacking boxes and the Hubble Space
Telescope, because they’d be capable of mental
feats far beyond anything we could possibly conceive. Their humatologists would
roll Stephen Hawking forward and say, this one is slightly
smarter than the rest because he can do astrophysics
calculations in his head like little junior
over here does. Our greatest works of art
and literature and science, their toddlers would have
created in their kindergarten and would be on their
refrigerator with magnets. Oh look, little
junior just derived all of quantum mechanics. Isn’t that cute? Put that on the freezer door. Oh, this is your 20th sonata. Oh, that is so cute. We call ourselves smart. You don’t know if
you’re smart or not until you have another species
who blow you out of the water. And what I’m about to
tweet this evening– because it disturbs me. I’ve got to get it off my chest. There’s a worm in the street. You walk by it. Does the worm know that
you think you’re smart? The worm has no
concept of your smarts, because you are that much
smarter than the worm. So a worm has no idea that
something smart is walking by it, which makes
me wonder whether we have any concept if a
super species walked by us. Maybe they’re interested in
us because we’re too stupid for them to even imagine
having a conversation. You don’t walk by
worms, say gee, I wonder what the
worm is thinking? This is not a thought
that you have. So one of the best
pieces of evidence for why we haven’t
been visited by aliens is that they have
actually observed us and concluded there is no sign
of intelligent life on Earth. Thank you all. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Thank you.

100 thoughts on “SciCafe: Life the Universe and Everything with Neil deGrasse Tyson

  1. 31:00 โ€we need oilโ€ oh boy Neil why Did you do this. My respect for this man just dropped with 20%. The man talks about the fact that we need to invest in sience for the benefit of future generations but fail to realise that we cant keep consumeing fossil fules… Which he mentions as a problem that they discovered through investgation of the universe, yet as i just Said: failed to realised the problem with useing oil, since it makes the green house effect even worse. But then again infinity times 0.8 is still infinite.

  2. imagino a los alien riendose de las cosas dicen humanos cientificos que secren que se lo saben todo cuando la verda no es

  3. From Atiyah's Todd function 137=gm^2/ke^2 to 1836=(3.14/(128.5*5.3*10^-11*137))^0.5 hide code of everything in universe.

  4. With current astronauts admitting we can't send people to the Moon because of the van Allen radiation belts, does ANYONE still believe we went back in 1969 ??? I don't

  5. What we need is less ignorance in the world. We can start by eliminating all the warmongers working in the federal government. We have wasted trillions fighting senseless wars on foreign soils. Let us stop this reckless and destructive spending and invest that money in American and the American people.

    We can start by reinventing American's education system. So many bright young students are slipping into the cracks of a broken system of the haves and the have nots. Those kids that are sitting in the local park instead of going to class need our help, let's not turn our backs on these kids.

    Let's invest in educating our kids, getting them the help they need. American is becoming, the country of entitlement. Well off parents write out a check so their lazy ass kid can sit in an MIT classroom and text friends. We had better wake up .

  6. the matter antimatter annihilation event does not check out. The annihilations of matter create photons of an energy value equivalent to the mass of destructed matter. so if 1 in 100 million baryons survived, and the 100 million was converted to photons. Then the legacy of this event would be that energy content of photons in space would be 100 million times the value of the current day baryon matter universe. Where are these photons?

    If cosmological redshift lowered the energy content, and if this is how the photon energy was lowered "a cooling universe", then that means the equivalent of 100 million times the mass energy of the current universe just evaporated away into nothing. If this is the theory? then why isnt that mentioned? such a large part of the universe just disappears.

    So one way of the other, this theory is bogus. Either you guys haven't balanced the energy books. Or your not mentioning something profound about the evaporating universe. Which one is it?

  7. 49:42
    49:42
    49:42
    49:42

    ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

  8. The word universe makes you think of verses, stories, imagining and a unity of fantasies, universe, like an illusion talk, quickly makes you think of occultism and the names they give to their star idols and how to reach them. This looks like a hypnosis session, Neil is a master magician that is why he can say any BS he wants and every sheep with a vaccuum head would believe it.

  9. Wine is metric?oh so grapes are 12 cenimeters in diameter. Neil's brain droppings, so brain farts we are encouraged to sniff. Not me. He's arrogant America is not going metric, it is accommodating the migrants of Europe who just can't learn our English,, our measure standard and our conceptual thinking. Drinks are in liters, but fractional, why? Cause Coke comes in 12, 16, 32, 64 ounce containers. I could listen Sheldon on Big Bang longer than DeGrasse.

  10. Of course we are in the center of the "known" universe, it's as far as we can see in any direction! Remember when we thought our galaxy and then our solar system was the "known" universe? And how could we ever measure all of it when it's flying away from us faster than the speed of light? Physicists are just ridiculous to think they know everything. (and the girl who asked the first question actually goes to college?)

  11. Dr. Tyson is not a scientist mearly a left wing shill who denies the scientific method. Absolutely no value to this program.

  12. Lack of evidence?Why is it all the sceptics look the least at the evidence ther is? because they spend time trying to justify being scec
    ptical instead of looking at any evidence. and who says life has to be exactly like us to exist? only scientists incapable of opening up their minds. close minded scientists discover nothing.

  13. 9:55 to the next 3-4 minutes beyond, demonstrate what a creep he is, and that despite decades of doing this, he still doesnโ€™t know how to handle an audience.

  14. you have all been sucked in by the pseudo-scientists like de-grasse. the earth is flat and stationary and Aristarchus is the ultimate answer revealed.

  15. 23:18 actually that is an awesome question. The answer is that it would be exactly the same. We say that it is "anti" because it is so in relation to what we call matter. That means that if we (earth, the sun etc.) were made from antimatter, we would call it just "matter". That is what we call symmetry.
    So that discovery from Fermilab would say exactly the same thing if we were made from either matter or antimatter.

  16. Mr. Tyson brings ALL the 'Cool', to physics!
    (Even for those, like myself, who can't count past our own fingers!)
    ((Substitute NUMBERS with letters/symbols?… gtfo, now…))
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†

  18. We keep discovering new things in space. One day we will discover the red shift is just from excess gas, dust and undiscovered matter or energy in the vastness of space. Then the big bang, based on this red shift, will disappear and we will say the universe is static! Ooops sorry we misled everybody.

  19. 43:55 i haven't been able to find any kind of proof as what Neil DeGrasse Tyson said(Al Ghazali" "Mathematics and the manipulating of numbers are work of the devil ".
    if you know please let me know

  20. "remember to keep comments respectful and to follow our community guidelines" is being shoved in my face as I comment using the YouTube app.

    another example of how religious morality is destroying our ability to communicate and vilifying one culture while painting another one some sort of Glory for the good of all "mankind". Judging just like God does. Branding someone the villain or the heretic.

    just another example of the failure to separate church and state now becoming the failure to separate Church, State as well as business practices. Entire businesses have been turned into weapons for the church helping to vilify my culture in regards to vernacular or what's the ones allowed to say or not allowed to say in public. Fucking asinine. And the world wonders why churches are being burned to the ground? There you have it. Don't start nothing there won't be nothing. Leave your delusions in your house instead of pushing them on to the world.

  21. The car goes NYOOOOM

    The car does not go NYA NYA

    It doesnโ€™t do that, does it?

    No

    It doesnโ€™t go NYEEEEEE

  22. Question of an oil spill and learning about the Earth in-depth, asking a scientist, did ya guess the answer? The first thing scientist will scare you with – that there is an asteroid coming this way and we have to know how to deflect the asteroid away from the Earth. Damn, Mother Nature has its own deflection methods, we been saved a few many times, and so-called the scientists if an asteroid was to hit the Earth they will be the first lot to run into the shelter. did ya get it? Religious cults scare you with GOD BULLSHIT and SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY scare you with ASTEROIDES. Guess what they both want, MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY…and so on. Did ya get it?

  23. 1:04:03 I regret to point out that Dr. Tyson is in error here. He states that after the pyramides, mankind didn't build something taller than the pyramids until the 19th century, referring to the Eiffel Tower. Sorry, false. The highest of the egyptian pyramids is the Cheops pyramid, having a height (when built) of 146 meters. Coming from germany, I know for a fact, that the Cologne Cathedral is 157 meters in height, and its constrution started in August, 1248. That's a good six and a half centuries earlier. Still, it doesn't completly destroy the point he's making.

    EDIT:
    But in addition, I just have to mention, how much I love this man's brain. He makes my think about all different kinds of subjects in new ways – and I have read works from Prof. Carl Sagan as well as Prof. Stephen Hawking and listened to – I don't wanna exclude our german popular scientists on TV here – Prof. Joachim Bublath and Prof. Harald Lesch.

  24. 10:00 Being nasty to the person who asked the first question. No Neil! Not everybody is comfortable speaking in front of people.

  25. Hands down, Tyson is a great person to hear speak. He always has an engaging way of capturing the attention of an audience that no one else can quite match up to.
    Iโ€™d love to attend a lecture of his

  26. Arabic numerals are actually Hindu numerals, the Arabs learned from India , the invention of the value of Zero is from India

  27. "oh, by the way there's an Asteroid coming, if there's time, we'll get to it" that joke can be read 3 ways…
    1. NASA get's curious and lands there
    2. We give it course correction
    3. we will talk about the asteroid that will probably visit earth, hopefully not deciding to mate with the surface.

  28. Unbelievable how can people believe in this crook,, he just say that an asteroid in 2036 will hit the earth 500 kilometers from the LA coast,,hahah such a lier my god how people can even listen to this crook

  29. I donโ€™t like when the one questioned completely gets what is asked wrong. For instance, when the girl asked if he felt like we should explore the deep sea more than space. But he took it as to what BP should do about the oil spill. Itโ€™s disappointing. Especially with how long he stays on a question. I just feel bad for her because how often do you get to ask an astrophysicist. Never.

  30. I have anxiety issues to start with and you astroid thing made me want to throw up. It still does. I live in Florida which is barely above sea level. I know he said the Pacific Ocean but no way do I trust them enough to predict unprecedented data like this. No offense all you astrophysicists out there. Iโ€™m not staying in Florida then because Iโ€™m scared Iโ€™ll hear โ€œoops. Wrong ocean predicted.โ€ I live near the coast. But, I do hope it hits an ocean instead of land. I really hope it goes away somehow.

    I thought the government would have kept all this a secret from the people. What happened to doing that?

  31. im an artist and becuse of tyson i want to create a book and title it brain failures and be full of optical illusions

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