Simply sublime: In this teaser for the American Museum of Natural History’s Dark Universe show, Neil deGrasse Tyson recites Walt Whitman’s "When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer." Pair with Tyson on the most astounding fact about the universe, the art of the soundbite, the secret of genius, and Carl Sagan’s legacy.
Who are we, if not measured by our impact on others? That’s who we are! We’re not who we say we are, we’re not who we want to be — we are the sum of the influence and impact that we have, in our lives, on others.
At a recent Library of Congress event celebrating Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson captures, in his signature eloquence, the heart of Sagan’s legacy.
A museum is an institution dedicated to creating connections … a meeting point between two arrows of time, the past and the future, and two arrows of complexity, greater and lesser, that originate at the point we call us, and now.
In other words, museums are the fourth dimension.
Joe Hanson offers a beautiful definition of what a museum is. Pair with Stephen Jay Gould, the greatest science writer of all time, on why the sparking of connections is the key to creativity.
Meanwhile, to the brilliant Neil deGrasse Tyson, a museum is a soundbite:
A soundbite is useful because it triggers interest in someone, who then goes and puts in the effort to learn more. And that’s all a museum can really be.
Essential media literacy and wisdom for anyone engaged in the art of communication, which is practically everyone with a beating heart and firing neurons.
Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Art of the Soundbite
On August 28, the American Museum of Natural History hosted IFLS Live, a panel discussion on the wide, wild world of online science communication from I Fucking Love Science's Elise Andrew, io9's Annalee Newitz, Mitch and Greg from ASAPScience, Emily Graslie of The Brain Scoop and Maria Popova of Brain Pickings (and still the most interesting person on the internet). I’m sure my invitation to the panel got lost in the mail :)
A surprise visitor showed up near the end: none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of AMNH’s Hayden Planetarium. Maria asked him how on Earth (or how on any other planet) he manages to craft such information-rich soundbites, polishing away the jagged edges of the science without dulling its shine. It’s a skill that Tyson has mastered perhaps better than any other living science communicator (incidentally, “science communicator” is a term I am growing to dislike, because it’s very clunky and weird).
Neil’s full answer is over at Brain Pickings in video form (I highly recommend checking it out in full), but this GIF by Maria captures the tasty essence quite well. I mean, isn’t the GIF really just the soundbite of images?
When you’re done, sit down with your beverage of choice, get comfortable, and take in the full IFLS Live panel (video below):
Aw, thanks Joe!
Neil deGrasse Tyson, brilliant as ever, at IFLS@AMNH, August 28, 2013.
Fantastic and necessary: Neil deGrasse Tyson on your ego and the cosmic perspective
Also see Tolstoy’s Calendar of Wisdom.
Neil deGrasse Tyson's hand-drawn love letter to Manhattanhenge.