by Marissa Chavez, Communications Intern
Neil deGrasse Tyson was the shining star at the 2009 H. Louise and H.E. “Ed” Cobb Speaker Series, on Nov. 6. Tyson is a world famous astrophysicist, author of nine books and host of “NOVA scienceNow” series. He is most-famously known as the spokesperson on the demotion of the planet Pluto.
Tyson’s charisma, humor and friendliness wowed the crowd from beginning to end. More than 230 people were in attendance including more students than at any previous Cobb Speaker Series.
Tyson’s lecture focused on science literacy in the United States and he spoke about the cultural impact of being knowledgeable about science. He compared the U.S. with other countries and argued that we are falling behind in subjects like science and math. He encouraged the audience to have a curious mind and talked about how to inform others about science.
Tyson, who is claimed to be one of the “50 Best Brains in Science,” enlightened and entertained. His quirky facts about the universe and engaging style had guests cheering throughout the talk. He even took the time to settle a family feud over if a spaceship can explode in outer space. Answer: yes, but no one would hear it.
Teresa Miller interviews Tyson for "Writing Out Loud"
The 2009 season of Nova Science Now premiers June 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Here Tyson previews the season.
Time Magazine asks "10 Questions fro Neil deGrasse Tyson"
The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet
From the Publisher:
The New York Times best-selling author chronicles America's irrational love affair with Pluto, man's best celestial friend.
In August 2006, the International Astronomical Union voted Pluto out of planethood. Far from the sun, tiny, and eccentric in orbit, it's a wonder Pluto has any fans. Yet during the mounting debate over Pluto's status, Americans rallied behind the extraterrestrial underdog. The year of Pluto's discovery, Disney created an irresistible pup by the same name, and, as one NASA scientist put it, Pluto was "discovered by an American for America." Pluto is entrenched in our cultural, patriotic view of the cosmos, and Neil deGrasse Tyson is on a quest to discover why.
Only Tyson can tell this story: he was involved in the first exhibits to demote Pluto, and, consequently, Pluto lovers have freely shared their opinions with him, including endless hate mail from third graders. In his typically witty way, Tyson explores the history of planet classification and America's obsession with the "planet" that's recently been judged a dwarf.
Death by Black Hole
From the Publisher:
A vibrant collection of essays on the cosmos from the nation's best-known astrophysicist.
Loyal readers of the monthly "Universe" essays in Natural History magazine have long recognized Neil deGrasse Tyson's talent for guiding them through the mysteries of the cosmos with stunning clarity and almost childlike enthusiasm. Here, Tyson compiles his favorite essays across a myriad of cosmic topics. The title essay introduces readers to the physics of black holes by explaining the gory details of what would happen to your body if you fell into one. "Holy Wars" examines the needless friction between science and religion in the context of historical conflicts. "The Search for Life in the Universe" explores astral life from the frontiers of astrobiology. And "Hollywood Nights" assails the movie industry's feeble efforts to get its night skies right. Known for his ability to blend content, accessibility, and humor, Tyson is a natural teacher who simplifies some of the most complex concepts in astrophysics while simultaneously sharing his infectious excitement about our universe.
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