The cosmic perspective: Neil deGrasse Tyson at Proctors

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By Kyle Doney, Erick Landreth and Aaron Rapaport Contributing Writers Renowned pop astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson brought one of his signature talking points, the cosmic perspective, to Proctors in Schenectady this past week. His incomparable ability to communicate complex ideas in a digestible form caught the interest of everyone in attendance. For three hours he enraptured middle schoolers and engineering students alike with his striking message about the importance of understanding our place in the universe. The cosmic perspective relates us to being infinitely small and made of stardust. With this, we are perfectly connected to our universe in our chemical makeup, and as far as we know our living planet is the most important one in it. Using the development of science throughout history, Tyson comprehensively explained our race’s yearning for science prospered in the past, and explained trend the current trend. Unfortunately, that trend currently shows that the United States is falling behind. But, while the American engine of scientific discovery is still one of the most productive in the world, according to Tyson, our economy for scientific papers has stagnated compared to other world powers. This may be a sign that our dominance of scientific discovery may be passed along if we do not alter our way of thinking. The US is not as focused on the world of tomorrow as is was in the 1960’s. To Tyson, it is the “invention of tomorrow that is absent today in modern American culture. Tomorrow was everywhere in the 1960’s, wasn’t it? The World’s Fair was all about tomorrow. And who enabled that tomorrow? It is the scientific and technological literacy of a nation that does it. And it is those innovations that are the engines of the 21st century economy!” With wars, assassinations, and social revolutions, America still had the time to look towards the future and imagine the incredible. One of Tyson’s main points was that we need to address the lack of attention to science in the United States. In order to save our place on the ladder of scientific advancement and the growth of tomorrow’s world we must improve scientific literacy. We must cultivate a population that is comfortable with the scientific and mathematical concepts that dominate our society. Neil deGrasse Tyson runs a podcast called Startalk dedicated to bringing the universe down to earth: https://www.startalkradio.net/

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