I’m joining a cult. A new one. One that only a few people know about, or are informed about, or even care about. It’s a bit of a strange cult, especially for those of you that know me. But bare with me and I’ll explain.
I am joining the cult of Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Who? Well of course you would say that. The man is not in movies, nor does he play sports. He is a preeminent astrophysicist. Some of you might know him because he has been on the Colbert Report many times, or you might have watched a Nova series that was narrated by him. But most people will not know about Dr. Tyson. And that’s ok, kinda. But more people should know about Dr. Tyson.
Some people might have a bit of an inkling in their mind, some heresy that they remember the great Dr. Tyson being attached to. Yes, he was part of the committee of international scientists that suggested the downgrading of Pluto from a planet to whatever it is that Pluto is now. Ahh see, now I have your attention.
Dr. Tyson is brilliant. And he is dynamic. I say this in all respect to Stephen Hawking, who is indeed one of, if not the, most brilliant people alive on our planet today. But Stephen Hawking simply, sadly, cannot grab hold of an audience and wrap them up in the rise and falls of emotional discourse like Dr. Tyson can. If you have ever had the pleasure of even occasionally seeing Dr. Tyson on the Colbert Report, then you know what I mean, but allow me to try and explain a bit better.
Dr. Tyson uses the English language in a manner and style that is so unbelievably enticing, and he uses his body and his inflections and tone to help describe concepts and thoughts that are at times so foreign to normal human understanding, that it makes his listeners want to be scientists. I am 30 years old. I am fascinated with science, but I know deep down that my brain just does not work in the way in which science requires. I cannot grasp the nuances, and the numbers, and the minute details. But when I listen to Dr. Tyson speak, I want to. I want to get into a white lab coat, climb into a chemistry lab and explore the workings of the world. I want to know what it means and why it means.
Dr. Tyson is passionate about his work. He loves his work. He loves his job, his career, and more importantly he loves educating about his work. He gets animated about his position. He knows so many things, but he just has to find a way to describe them to you. And he has the ability to do so. He has a talent to take massively complex concepts that at times will boggle the mind of many lesser people and he can distill them down to the simplest of sentences, just to help get you there. All while keeping the concept complex enough that it’s not dumbed down, but simple enough so that you can build off of it.
If there is a man better able to answer scientific questions and not treat the questioner like a child, I have not yet found one. Sure, some of you will say Bill Nye. Alright, I can see Bill Nye. But I see your Bill Nye and I raise you Dr. Tyson. Bill Nye is great for getting kids interested in the basics of science. Water is solid, liquid, and a gas, and that kind of thing. But if you want to get into the nitty gritty, the deep down reasons behind water, and the molecules. If you want to take that child who now has the starting understanding of water and matter and the states of matter, if you want to reach down and grab that kid and hook them into the sciences in a way that will never let them escape? If you want to do that, you give them Dr. Tyson.
So where is all this coming from? Well I just spent an hour and a half watching a youtube video of Dr. Tyson being interviewed by Stephen Colbert at the Montclair Kimberley Academy. It was an hour and half of absolute awesome. If awesome could be distilled down, it would be in that interview. Look for it yourself if you don’t believe me. I spent my time with my mouth open in awe of this man’s brilliance. I was laughing, I was clapping (Yes, I was applauding a youtube video. Don’t judge me!), I was grinning from ear to ear. If you don’t watch the entire video, and I promise you that it’s worth it, but if you don’t have the time, at least watch the last 20 or so minutes. In that 20 minutes Dr. Tyson talks about the future and policy, and how to make our country, and the world really, how to make us a better fit for the future. It’s worth a watch. And a good serious thinking about.
So yes, I am in a New Cult. Dr. Tyson, you have a new member.