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Reddit AMA with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson. Credit: Patrick Queen/Columbia Magazine

I don’t know how many of you tune-in to these “Ask Me Anything” discussion threads at Reddit but I’ve been grooving on them since our colleague Derek Lowe did one back in March. In general, people of note can either propose their own session or be nominated to do so. Folks can ask them any question and the Reddit thread reflect their responses and discussion by others.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the giants in public communication of science. An astrophysicist who has been been the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium for the last 15 years, Tyson will soon re-launch Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series. The complete thread of Tyson’s AMA can be found here.

Here’s one of his answers that may hold special appeal to our C&EN readers:

Question: If you think 5 and 10 years from now, what are you most looking forward to in science? Any expectations?

Tyson: Cure for Cancer. Fully funded space exploration. Physics recognized as the foundation of chemistry. Chemistry recognized as the foundation of biology. And free market structured in a way that brings these discoveries to market efficiently and effectively.

The whole thing is pure gold (Or platinum. Or rhodium, actually.)

But this one was my favorite – a reflection of the paucity of critical thinking skills in the American populace:

Question: If you could add one course to a student’s curriculum, what would it be?

Tyson: Course title every university should offer: “How to tell when someone else is full of shit”

Again, here’s the whole discussion. Enjoy reading the thoughts of one of our leader’s on the public understanding of science.


Credit: A generous hat-tip to Scicurious and Kate Clancy. Follow them on Twitter, not surprisingly @scicurious and @kateclancy.

1 Comment

  • Dec 10th 201120:12
    by Uncle Al


    Physics recognized as the foundation of chemistry

    Physics can be selectively incomplete without contradiction of prior observations, proven by bench top chemistry. Do the experiments, above link. “Uncle Al” xemist [connector] cox.net

    Bench top Eotvos experiments; Nordtvedt effect and lunar laser ranging; pulsar-solar star binary 1.74 solar-mass 465.1 Hz pulsar PSR J1903+0327 plus a 1.05 solar-mass star in a 95.17-day orbit binary system. 15.3% (AP4 model) vs. 0.0001% gravitational binding energy, 1.8×10^11 vs. 30 surface gees, 2×10^8 gauss vs. 5 gauss magnetic field; compressed superfluid neutrons and superconductive protons vs. proton-electron plasma, extreme isospin and lepton number divergence; and pulsar 11% of lightspeed equatorial spin velocity are differentially Equivalence Principle (EP) inert for orbit, periastron precession, and gravitation radiation orbital decay. NO MEASURABLE OBSERVABLE violates the EP, that all local bodies vacuum free fall identically.

    Fern-Parallelismus and Einstein-Cartan-Sciama-Kibble gravitation theories contain EP violation within spacetime torsion (chiral) not spacetime curvature (mirror-symmetric). Opposite shoes fit a vacuum trace left foot with different energies. They vacuum free fall along non-identical minimum action trajectories. They melt to a common state sock with different enthalpies of fusion. Specific rotation does not measure physical chirality, http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/norbors.gif ; nothing does.

    Crystallography offers 11 pairs of enantiomorphic space groups – mathematically perfect opposite shoes emergent at atomic bond distances. Three pairs have no single space group containing opposite sense or racemic screw axes. Opposed chemically and macroscopically identical, space groups P3(1) versus P3(2), single crystals of gamma-glycine or space groups P3(1)21 versus P3(2)21 alpha-quartz can violate the EP in an Eotvos experiment. Opposed space groups P3(1)21 versus P3(2)21 benzil single crystals in paired calorimeters, run with fresh crystals every 30 minutes, can have non-identical enthalpies of fusion through a 24-hour cycle.

    Physics never tested the vacuum against massed fermions because physical chiral divergence cannot be measured. Physics tested massless boson photons: zero vacuum anisotropy, refraction, dispersion, dichroism, or gyrotropy, arxiv:0912.5057, 0905.1929, 0706.2031, 1106.1068. If the vacuum is trace anisotropic toward massed fermions, Noether’s theorems cannot couple vacuum isotropy to conservation of angular momentum. Milgrom acceleration in MOND is sourced. No dark matter.

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