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Tag: Neil deGrasse Tyson (1-3 of 3)

'Cosmos' then and now: The 'personal voyage' of Carl Sagan, the Hollywood cool of Neil deGrasse Tyson

Like reboots of most anything, be it the Star Trek film franchise or the Hannibal television series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (premiering Sunday, March 9 on Fox) does not require familiarity with its original incarnation to be appreciated and enjoyed. Yet comparing the two shows, and their first episodes, is instructive. The first Cosmos, broadcast on PBS in 1980, had a different subtitle: “A personal voyage.” The person implied was the viewer — all of humanity. It was also the creative intelligence behind the series, astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan, who died in 1996. His widely watched series explored all of creation, and expressed all of himself — his mind, his heart, his hopes, his fears. Sagan wanted to use popular culture to evangelize science, exploration, and a worldview that was infinitely bigger than the world itself.

Inspiration for the series sprung from disappointment. In 1976, Sagan, then a member of the Viking Lander Imaging Team at NASA surveying Mars with robots, was dismayed by the lack of attention given to their historic, important work by the news media. At the time, the cultural narratives about space focused on the question of alien life and hospitable planets, and Team Viking couldn’t support reductive storylines about little green men or interplanetary manifest destiny. But Sagan was convinced the public was hungrier for knowledge — and more capable of appreciating complexity — than the press assumed. In the companion book to Cosmos, Sagan wrote: “I was positive from my own experience that an enormous global interest exists in the exploration of the planets and in many kindred scientific topics — the origin of life, the earth, and the Cosmos, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, our connection with universe. And I was certain that this interest could be excited through that most powerful communications medium, television.”

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Neil deGrasse Tyson blasts off on 'Gravity'

Gravity soared out of this world and into box office record books this weekend — but astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was not impressed.

On Sunday night, Tyson took to Twitter to point out the film’s factual errors. Although he noted that he “enjoyed #Gravity very much,” the director of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium nitpicked tons of scientific details — from the film’s titles to its catastrophic events.

Check out his Twitter rant  below.  Please note: There are spoilers ahead. READ FULL STORY

How much does Thor's hammer actually weigh? Scientist answers pressing question

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson set out to answer a truly perplexing scientific question Thursday on his Twitter feed: How much does Thor’s hammer weigh?

If Thor’s hammer is indeed made of a star, like the Marvel comic book says, it would weigh as much as 300 billion elephants. Assuming the average weight of an elephant, this equates to approximately 4.5 quadrillion pounds, according to a Slate report (we’ll trust their math).

Tyson even posted a photo of himself holding the hammer, to provide some proof of the accuracy of his report. He is one of pop culture’s favorite scientists, having hosted NOVA ScienceNow on PBS for five seasons and appearing frequently on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He has hosted three of Reddit’s top 10 Ask Me Anything Q&A’s. He’s also no stranger to comic books — Tyson was featured in an issue of Action Comics in 2012, where he helped determine the location of Superman’s home planet, Krypton.

This offbeat way of imagining just how heavy the legendary hammer Mjölnir is gives me a renewed sense of pride for my personal favorite Avenger. It explains why only Iron Man’s exoskeleton and The Hulk can put up a fight against the king from Asgard. Alien or no, the guy is super, super strong. Really, how many elephants can you lift?

Read more:
‘The Avengers': How ILM assembled the visual effects
‘Avengers’ cast, including Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson, to present at Oscars
S.H.I.E.L.D.’ pilot starts filming — PHOTOS

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