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Astrophysics for People in a HurryHardcover May 2, 2017 byNeil deGrasse Tyson (Author)
The #1 New York TimesBestseller: The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.
What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.
While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.
Neil deGrasse Tyson was born in New York City the same week NASA was founded. His interest in the universe traces back to age 9, after a first visit to the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History. He was educated in the public schools of New York City through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. And after an BA in Physics from Harvard and a PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia and a Postdoctoral research fellowship at Princeton, Tyson become the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, where he has served since 1996.
Neil deGrasse Tyson Astrophysics and Katy Perry video interview.
Neil deGrasse Tyson Astrophysics and Katy Perry video interview.
Transcript for hearing impaired people. Not perfect but the just it present.
Song: Can I get a witness.
Neil: let’s have a seat
Katy: Thank You so much. Uh, it’s called star talk.
Neil: Star talk
Katy: Oh my gosh, and how long have you been doing the show?
Neil: So, For many years we first started with a grant from the national science foundation. What we found was, there are people who we know like science, so they’ll just tune into any science show at all. And how bout’ the people who don’t know that they’ll like science. Or better yet the people who are pretty sure that they don’t like science.
Katy: Why don’t people like science?
Neil: Well, I don’t know. Maybe they might fear it. Maybe they did not do well in school.
Katy: I think that their scared of it; scared of the unknown.
Neil: exactly, so what we do…
Katy: I’m scared of the unknown sometimes.
Neil: Well, I think for me the unknown is a seduction. It’s like you don’t know what is there, come closer.
Neil: This is why people go into haunted houses, they don’t know what’s there and they’re pulled in.
Neil: So with star talk my gets are never scientists, or hardly ever scientists. They are people, people have heard of hewn from pop culture. Then I have a conversation with them about their geek underbelly.
Katy: well I just reveal in my therapy that I am a major dork. So I am ready to dork out.
Neil: Your in a dork safe space with me. Cause all we’re going to do is totally geek out.
Neil: So you ready to begin
Katy: Yes, I’d love to
Neil: Well Thank you for agreeing
Katy: You’re an inspiring person and an incredible magnificent mind.
Neil: I’d got good material (Neil laughs)
Katy: Oh ok good
Neil: The universe is good material
Katy: You do a lot of reading
Neil: So of course I did some homework on you, and so in modern (can’t make out word) I guess we would say you were home schooled, right I mean you were tutured by teachers
Katy: we’ll I went to Christian school, I was…we moved around a lot my parents started churches all around the country. So we would live in one space for only like a year and a half or so. And we would move so I would be taken out of different schools that were kind of pop up schools or maybe like, you know…
Neil: So there were no science and math teachers that had any influence on you; positive or negative?
No, not particular. I wasn’t ever good at math. I was always promised no math. There will be no math on this show.
Neil: Maybe by the end you’ll be good it.
Katy: I know. Is math really in science.
Neil: Math is the language of the universe.
Neil: If you want to go to china and speak to Chinese people you learn mandarin…yah ok. You go to Spain you learn Spanish. You want to go to the universe you learn math. It’s that simple. I mean, It’s that straight forward.
Katy: I know that people, have done this before on your show but I just want to go and do it once (katy makes an explosion sound with her mouth. Neil laughs)
Neil: So that’s why math is so fundamental and it’s kind of mysterious because we invented math out of our head yet it applies across the universe and across time.
Neil: So it’s completely amazing
Neil: This thing that came out of our head even works, to describe…
Katy: Did we invent it.
Neil: Yah, we kind of invented it
Katy: As a language.
Neil: Yah, as a language to communicate with great precision what’s going on in the natural world. Because regular language is not precise enough.
Katy: Right, it’s all so different
Neil: That’s why regular language is good for emotions and other things that are kind of fuzzy and abstract. You know. When it comes time to actually measure something you need the math.
Katy: measure twice. Cut once. (Neil laughs)
Neil: Are you a carpenter in your spare time?
Katy: No, I’m just a word smith and I like sayings.
Neil: Oh Beautiful. I love it. I love it. So looking at your career, I learned that you can span for octives? Is that right?
Katy: Um, I don’t know if I have ever counted them but yes I go very high and I can go pretty low.
Neil: How low can you go? (Neil demonstrates the low rage of his voice as he speaks the line)
Katy: Oh, oh, wowh. I have been crying and screaming so I am not quite sure. (Neil laughes)
Neil: I saw part of that therapy session and I’m like hmmhuhh. I’ve got to come in after that.
Katy: No, listen, I’m so happy to be with you. You make me very happy.
Neil: Let’s see if we can elevate you into the universe (Katy smiles).
Katy: Yah, I spun out. I was spun for a second.
Neil: Ok, alright. Uh, umh, so four octaves; that’s not common I guess. Is that right? I’m not a musician so…
Katy: I don’t know exactly. I’m defiantly Mariah Carey or Celine Dion or no Beyonce.
Katy: But they are other worldly.
Neil: So the more octaves the better I guess?
Katy: Yes, Like Arriana Grande is like, The Best.
Neil: So your buds with her?
Katy: Yes, of course. Well, no not of course. I don’t want you to assume; you know the saying about assumption? It makes an ass out of you…Uh no, but she’s great.
Neil: Yah, so tell me about your previous album, I love the title prism. Where you thinking prism. Prism is like a physics thing. It’s a piece of glass,
Katy: It’s a reflection…
Neil:…it is triangular, it takes white light and breaks it into it’s component colors. Where you thinking that or did you have another application for that, for of the word prism?
Katy: Well, I had someone call me a prism. And it seemed like a compliment.
Neil: Yah, I would take that as a compliment.
Katy: It was a compliment.
Neil: You take ordinary light and break it to all of it’s beautiful colors.
Katy: Oh (Neils connection excites Katy, she is pleased)
Neil: That was geek brilliant.
Katy: And the called me a prism and it stuck with me because I do think that, that’s what I do sometimes, through my songs, I take in information. I digest it and I make song out of it. And I go (Katy makes a sound with her mouth and gestures her hands as if to gesture that the information in the songs starts from a main focal area and then disperses out and multiplies out to many more areas) and it turns into all these colors. And that’s why were sitting in a rainbow right now.
Neil: This is a beautiful space here, yes.
Katy: It’s bit of a prism.
Neil: I love what you’ve done with the place.
Katy: Thank you
Neil: So a prism….
Katy: But I did not know that if was so science based.
Neil: It’s completely science based. And Issac
Katy: Secretly I’ve loved science my whole life and I did not even know it.
Neil: Exactly, this is the geek underbelly that we’re exploring. So, prism, a white light comes in, and you know what happens….?
Neil: ….Through glass the colors of white light which are the colors of the rainbow which freaks out artists cause you say “take white light. What is it composed of?” Red orange yellow green blue indigo violet. It’s kind of crazy but it is real. It is a real universe. And the universe is under no obligation to make sense. You should start there.
Katy: Truly. Ok.
Neil: So what happens is that the different colors travel through the glass at different speeds. And the break apart from one another. And they emerge on this other side as a beautiful rainbow. And you can remember the colors because it’s ROYGBIV ?”
Katy: Yes I remember that.
Red orange yellow green blue indigo violet
Neil: It’s a beautiful thing Sir Isaac Newton discovered it.
Katy: Love him.
Neil: Love me some Isaac Newton
Katy: I have a crush on him and Socrates
Neil: Is that right? Ooh! Oh so wait minute. So that accounts for your one phase bio.
Katy: (Katy laughs) What do you mean
Neil: “I know nothing”
Katy: Is it?
Neil: it’s Plato via Socrates
Katy: I did not even know that. I just kept…
Neil: So that means your deeply plug in to the pulse of philosophers through out time
Katy: Well, I appreciate philosophy and science so much, and spirituality of course and the things I don’t understand I appreciate. And the more I thurst for knowledge…because, I’m so thirsty…if I’m thirsting for one thing, it’s knowledge right…
Neil: Not enough people are
Katy: And education, and so I love educating myself and I’m such sponge and I’m so curious, and that’s where it’s got me here, but the more that I learn, the more I realize that, I know nothing.
Neil: Well what happens is that the area of your knowledge grows so to does the perimeter of your ignorance (Katy syes being blown away by the awesomeness of Neils statement) because that’s the boundary for what is know within the circle and what is unknown outside of it. So, everything you learn you stand in a new place, see things you never even knew you didn’t know.
Katy: I know. That’s the thing. You know, what I thought I knew four months ago, I’ve changed my mind and it’s not because I’m a woman.
Neil: It’s because your curious
Katy: It’s because I’m curious, darnit.
Neil: And in fact the people that never make mistakes are the people who are not on any frontier at all.
Katy: I make a ton of mistakes. This whole thing might be a mistake Neil and Katy both laugh)
Neil: So, Plato is remember amongst many things for saying “I know only one thing, and that is that I don’t know nothing”
Katy: Oh shot dog. Maybe I have a crush on Plato too.
Neil: Awe yes. And that came through Socrates.
Katy: Were they alive at the same time.
Neil: I don’t remember their birth death dates, especially since the give them in BC death dates and they go down instead of up.
Katy: I was promised no math (Neil laughs and eases out the subject)
Neil: So just to…Realizing that I knew that you had sort of a soul of curiousity and you embrace not knowing…people fear not knowing when in fact it’s the not knowing ; If all you do is not know and don’t care that you don’t know, that’s disaster. But if you don’t know and care that you don’t know, and then are curious to find out the world is yours.
Katy: To me that’s being an active witness.
Neil: Ok. That works.
Katy: So, sometimes your just a voyeur. And I like have voyeur’s in the house, and they are watching. That’s a participation of sorts.
Neil: (looks around and say’s) each one of these are cameras.
Katy: These are all cameras.
Neil: Wow that’s cool (continuing to look around as Katy points in specific directions)
Katy: And then I have a room in the house that people can come in and peak through a whole and see me. And, that is a voyeur…
Neil: So that’s not creepy?
Katy: It’s all super creepy. But life is creepy. (Neil laughs).
Neil: It’s just a subset of creepiness that is life itself.
Katy: Listen, I think that we are being witnessed in so many different ways. It’s just…
Neil: So what’s other camera
Katy: It’s just the tip of the ice burg.
Neil: Ok, alright…A little thing about the ice burg. Just so you have numbers.
Neil: Ya good, 90% of an ice burg is below water.
Neil: Right, so you see these images with the Titanic, in the old days. The ice burg was really big. No, that’s not…
Katy: That’s not even the biggest part.
You could have a little bit of ice sticking out of the water; 90% of it is under water
Katy: Always, always? That’s always how it is. Is that how it floats?
Neil: It’s basically the same as your ice cubes, in water.
Katy: Right, so the bottom half as well
Neil: Yes, 90% is sinking below, 10% pops up above.
Katy: Ice cubes are just mini little ice burgs. Booougghh. (Neil and Katy laugh)
Neil: Ok, I’ve got two out of you.
Neil: Two mind blown. So with prism, one of your songs on that album if I remember correctly is “ET”
Katy: That was on “Teenage dream”
Neil: Tell me your relationship with ET.
Katy: Well it’s just a metaphor.
Neil: I think about ET all the time.
Katy: You do?
Neil: Well I think about it literally.
Katy: No, I know you do, and I do to. Can I just get a little strange…
Neil: No Go! I’m in your space. Go!
Katy: Why are there 7 billion people? And why do each one of us have our own figure print?
Neil: Even twins, have different finger prints.
Neil: …who are otherwise genetically identical.
Neil: would you rather that we were all the same?
Katy: No, I’m just asking why?
Neil: Why is that more odd to then the fact that we all have different personalities? We have different talents…
Katy: But personalities can be based on…
Neil: what you learn
Katy: …environment. Nurture and not just nature.
Katy: So, I thought about it the other day and it kind of made me spin. It’s just like we all have different figure prints. Ok. I get it. Grand design.
Neil: Well so, it is an intriguing fact. But here is something that may relate. There are more people who could be born, than will ever be born. So we have 7 billion people on earth, the genetic code is capable of making trillions of variations of humans. Trillions. So I did not say that right. The way I need to say it is, most people…most people who could be born will never be born. Will never even exits. So the fact that…
Katy: Like sperm
Neil: That’s an [excellent example] yes. Yah. One gets in.
Katy: I mean that’s science.
Neil: The rest don’t.
Katy: So where do they go?
Neil: Their dead. Their life forms
Katy: bur, bur, bur, bur!
Neil: Their part of number of human beings. That will never ever be born. So the few of us…
Katy: Well is that because there is not enough souls? There is already so mean people in the world.
Neil: That would be something if we ran out of souls. What would a soulless person look like? Behave like? If you…
Katy: Well sometimes a soul feels like it’s been here before. That’s more of an esoteric thing.
Neil: Well yah. The problem is when you actually do the experiment…
Katy: Well sometimes science and the esoteric world, like spiritual and science world they intermingle, because you know sometimes it’s all about faith. And not knowing.
Neil: Well it can be. However, so, I have some spiritual things in the universe I think.
Neil: They give me a, uh. There are things in the universe when I think about them, they, I feel what I think religious people feel when they have a religious experience.
Neil: And so I am wondering if it is reaching the same part…
Katy: Different dimension
Neil: …of our inner selves. So for example what I’ve learned, and study that the molecules of your body, the atoms were actually forged in the cores of stars that lived in a distant part of our galaxy and died billions of years ago, scattering this enrichment across the galaxy into new gas clouds that then collapsed and formed new star systems including the solar system, including planets.
Katy: There’s got to be a God.
Neil: On one planet life. And among the life on that planet; Humans.
Katy: Sure. And that’s the evolutions
Neil: So that’s what I’m saying. Not only are we in this universe, We’re living and alive in this universe. The universe is alive within us. We are not figuratively but literally star dust. To me that’s almost a spiritual gift…
Neil: …of astrophysics. Modern astrophysics to civilizations. I think about that all the time.
Katy: And everything is energy.
Neil: And well. It’s a combination of mass and energy. Ya, if you put them together. Because the can transform. E equals mc square.
Neil: When did you learn E equals mc squared. (Neil laughs)
Katy: No, ya. I really did
Neil: Very important equation. Put that at the top of your equation list.
Katy: And like with sound waves. Even like with songs. You listen to them. If they go through water. Like that’s the ripple effect.
Neil: Ya so, ya so sound can go through a media to another.
Neil: That’s a very interesting thing. We are accustomed to hearing music as it is coming to us through air. But imagine the sound came to us in some other way.
Katy: Aren’t there notes that can make you do things. Well, like they can break glass.
Neil: Well yah, at a higher frequency of note.
Katy: And also poop your pants.
Neil: Yah (Neil laughs)
Katy: That what they call the brown note (Neil laughs)
Neil: I had not heard that one.
Katy: You hadn’t. Well I don’t know if it is real. I want you to be the one to tell me it’s real.
Neil: If such a note exists, I bet it is a low frequency note…
Katy: ya. It makes you just drop you bowls.
Neil: …that just gets through and jiggles your inner body…
Katy: Your gut
Neil: Well speaking of your gut. Speaking of your gut…
Katy: Your second brain.
Neil: …this cosmic perspective that I think about all the time, is what the world looks like from above. Looking down, it looks different.
Neil: You look at earth through space, there are not color coded countries. There is just land
Neil: Ocean, clouds and…
Neil: And as nature intends you to think about it…
Neil: …and see it. The cosmic perspective do not always come from the universe it can come from, it can also come from biology.
Neil: Deep inside your gut…
Neil: …one centimeter of your lower colon
Neil: Lives and works more bacteria then there are humans would ever be born. And we want to think that we can in charge. Just…You know what you to a bacteria?
Neil: You just a vessel of dark anaerobic fecal matter, to a bacteria.
Katy: Oh my gosh. Neil just called me a vessel of anaerobic…I’m basically hooked…
Neil: …to a bacteria. K. Now. That’s all that you are to them. However famous you are…
Katy: …no wonder
Neil: All they care is that you are a vessel for them.
Katy: Yes, Absolutely.
Neil: And when I think about this…
Katy: And who are they?
Neil: K, so, so here we are as humans thinking that we are at the top of some thing. Whatever.
Neil: if you get those bacteria upset, they will remind you who is in charge.
Neil: They will send you…
Katy: …on a lesson.
Neil: On a…every seven minutes you will be on the floor in the bathroom.
Katy: Ya. So bacteria. Wow.
Neil: But the point is we share the same body….
Neil: With bacteria. We are not greater than them or lessor than them.
Neil: We are participants in on living organism.
Neil: You can’t live without them. They can’t live without you.
Katy: That’s yen and yang.
Neil: You got it.
Katy: That’s negative and positive.
Neil: And I want to get back to your prism point. ET. Tell me more about ET.
Katy: I, look. I believe in something much bigger than me. I wrote a song on this record called bigger than me. Even if it is just a feeling it is a constant reminder that it is not just me that’s here and I don’t know what that is for me, and that is some form of God. I don’t know if it is the God that is like old or has a long beard, that sits on the throne, but I think its def[inantly]
Neil: It’s a force really
Katy: Ya, its like, even if you do believe in the Big bang or whatever the Big bang was, what was before the Big bang?
Neil: We don’t know we have got top people working on it.
Stay tuned…. for the rest interview to be transcribed.
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