WHERE CAN I SEE THE BEST VIDEOS STARRING NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON?
Neil deGrasse Tyson is probably the most famous living scientist in the world right now, after (maybe) Stephen Hawking, who doesn’t share his luminous camera presence. Every once in a while, the mostly science-ignorant masses get interested in someone with a passion for the sciences, and now that someone is Tyson – so it stands to reason there’d be lots of people out there interested in learning more about him and his work by watching videos online. And to answer your question, you can watch many of the most interesting Neil deGrasse Tyson videos right here on this page. Videos, like, for example, this one:
The verb “school” gets thrown around a lot these days, especially on the internet. But when it’s applied to Neil deGrasse Tyson, it’s doubly appropriate, since he has a way of taking all comers to school. In the case of that last video, the schooling is in the subject of the merits of intelligent design (or lack thereof), which is discussed in Tyson’s signature animated and informed style. And unlike the sometimes smug “atheist activists” like Richard Dawkins, Tyson’s take on a controversial topic isn’t condescending or pointlessly provocative. It’s just science.
Sometimes Tyson covers topics that aren’t controversial at all. In this next video, taken at a scientific lecture in Silicon Valley, the subject under discussion in the clip below is the exact wealth of Bill Gates. Not in terms of dollars and cents, which is too big a number for any of us plebes to be able to fully process anyway, but by way of an interesting thought experiment that also acts as a showcase for Tyson’s math skills. Check it out:
But Neil deGrasse Tyson’s true specialty, his passion, the thing that gets him out of bed every morning and sends him off to sleep every night, is astrophysics. His stated professional goal is to bring astrophysics to everyone, and as anyone could tell you, the best way to deliver a message to the people is through the magic of funk. The marriage of funk and Neil deGrasse Tyson below may not have been produced with Tyson’s direct involvement, but you have to assume he would approve of it anyway. Take a look, and see if you agree:
ARE THERE ANY OTHER VIDEOS SHOWING NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON GETTING FUNKY?
As a matter of fact, there is one, but it doesn’t have anything to do with science (unless dancing is a science). Truth be told, I thought about saving this video for the very end of this article, since it might just irrevocably change the way you see Dr. Tyson from now on. But if you’re ready, if you think you can handle seeing Neil deGrasse Tyson’s disturbingly coordinated dance moves at what must be some kind of drunken scientist party, here it is. You’ve been warned:
Now, I’ll give you a moment to process what you just saw. OK, ready to go on? This next video features Neil deGrasse Tyson in a closer approximation of his natural habitat – delivering a stirring quotation relevant to humanity’s future as space explorers. If you’re on the fence about whether or not we’re meant to reach out into the stars, a few minutes with Dr. Tyson will probably shove you over to the right side of the fence. Take a look at the video below and see if you agree:
One of the things that makes Neil deGrasse Tyson The People’s Scientist is probably his ability to relate to both children and adults. This next video, recorded in a basketball arena (how many scientists do you know who can draw basketball-game-sized crowds?), features this particular aspect of Tyson’s skills in sharp relief. He’s charged with the task of giving advice to a young girl in the first grade. She’s already a science fan, judging by her Albert Einstein branded clothing, but it’s safe to say that Tyson has managed to cement that into a firm passion, hopefully for the rest of her life. When you watch this next video, keep in mind you might be watching the next person to travel to another planet, or make some exciting scientific discovery that will change all of our lives (hopefully for the better). Cool, right? Take a look:
And that wasn’t the only time that Tyson applied his signature brand of wisdom to a conversation with a precocious child. This one’s name is Jacob, who’s nine years old and has a pretty good question about possible ways to deal with an oncoming asteroid. Here it is:
Hey, just by asking that question that kid demonstrated that he’s smarter than whoever wrote Armageddon. Speaking of movies:
I’VE HEARD THAT NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON SOMETIMES TALKS ABOUT THE SCIENCE IN MOVIES, DO YOU HAVE ANY VIDEOS OF THAT?
It’s true that one of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s specialties is analyzing Hollywood films through a scientific perspective. One famous incident had him “correcting” the appearance of the stars in the sky at the end of Titanic, which provoked that movie’s director actually fixing the mistake digitally for a recent re-release of the film. This next video has him digging into a more recent movie, the science-fiction drama Interstellar, which distinguished itself from most Hollywood science-fiction by attempting to pay attention to actual scientific principles. How well did it do? Well, how the hell should I know? But I do know that Neil deGrasse Tyson knows, and he spends a goodly amount of time in the video below tucking into the myriad scientific ideas represented in Interstellar. If you saw the movie, and you have almost 20 minutes to kill, it’s quite interesting and almost certainly worth watching. Check it out:
Now you might need a minute to untangle your brain, but Dr. Tyson isn’t done talking Interstellar. Here’s another video in which he focuses on the ending of Interstellar. Needless to say, do not watch if you’re concerned about spoilers (duh):
I HAVEN’T SEEN INTERSTELLAR AND/OR I HAVE LESS THAN A MINUTE, CAN I GET MY NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON FIX?
Sure! Here’s a clip that gives you a concentrated dose of Tysonosity in just 30 seconds. It’s taken from an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, and the topic under discussion is an Evangelical Christian who made the mistake of expressing his bizarre opinion about space aliens. In an uncharacteristically brusque and brief fashion, Tyson delivers his counterargument:
I wonder if that was originally scripted as something a bit stronger than “messed up.”
Heathen extraterrestrial life isn’t the only controversial topic to be addressed by Tyson in his signature entertaining style. As a scientist, he naturally gets a bit frustrated by all the misinformation and junk science out there relating to climate change. In this next video, he breaks down the crucial differences between “climate” and “weather,” particularly as they relate to the overall trend of warming that scientists have been warning us about for decades. He does this while walking a dog along the beach, because what else would he be doing?
Frivolous topics like fictional spacecraft can also be given the Neil deGrasse Tyson, as it does in the following video, which I’m sure must have been recorded at some meeting that had to do with the participants having a lot of sex when they were still teenagers (for any scientists who might be reading this, I’m being sarcastic). Tyson launches a convincing case that the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek is the best fictional spaceship ever. What, are you going to argue with him about that?
HOW ABOUT SOME VIDEOS POKING FUN AT NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON?
As a widely recognized and well-liked cultural figure, Neil deGrasse Tyson is as open to parody as anyone else. These parodies are for the most part good-natured (how could they not be?) and it’s hard to imagine Tyson, who seems to have a pretty great sense of humor to begin with, taking offense. I’ll close out this odyssey through the world of Neil deGrasse Tyson with a couple of these in the Break library.
This first one is a parody of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s enormously popular revival of Cosmos, the TV series developed by the late, great Carl Sagan. The premise of this parody is simple – what if Tyson hosted Cosmos … on weed?
That’s not really Neil deGrasse Tyson, of course, nor is it a particularly convincing lookalike. But the video is still pretty funny, and I imagine it’s even funnier if you’ve recently partaken in a certain pertinent substance (I’m talking about stardust).
That’s probably also true for this next video, which features footage of the real Neil deGrasse Tyson that’s been manipulated so that he talks really slow. It might not sound very entertaining, but I defy you to watch this video without at least cracking a smile:
Even slowed down, you have to admit he still sounds smarter than most.