I have previously discussed my admiration for Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He’s just super. Recently, I have discovered another reason he is super, however – Startalk Radio, his astronomy themed podcast.
The world is being glutted with podcasts these days – especially comedy podcasts, so to find one that combines a nerdy love to science with a healthy dose of comedy, helps it stand out amongst the rest.
Every week or so, Dr. Tyson sits down with people like the writers of the Big Bang Theory, Jon Stewart, Senator and former astronaut John Glenn, even Morgan Freeman, and they talk space and science. These discussions are always funny, always informative, and never esoteric. They cover such diverse topics as how science informs the plot of a top sitcom, how science appears in movie plots, and how will humanity actually become extinct. (In case you’re wondering, the chances of dying by a black hole are less than being hit by an asteroid. And we almost definitely won’t be killed by a sentient robot rebellion.)
It is a rare quality that Dr. Tyson possesses where he educates but never overtly makes you feel like you’re learning something you didn’t want to know.
The episode that hooked me was a recent one, in fact the first episode of season 3. Season 3 started with a live show at the Bell House in NYC and featured not only Dr. Tyson and astronaut Mike Massimino, but a trio of amazing comics: Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, and the inimitable John Hodgman.
At one point in the podcast, the phrase “Astronomy is the second oldest profession” came up and Dr. Tyson pretty much went along with it. It’s that kind of attitude that makes him a science hero for the masses.
Well that and his awesome collection of space themed vests and ties.