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The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

Neil deGrasse Tyson Fuses Science and Entertainment for Lecture


Photo credit: Sean O'Leary

Written by: Samantha WhitingOctober 23, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson gave a comical yet informative presentation as part of the 2014 Omnibus Lecture Series and discussed a variety of topics including the success of the “Cosmos” television series, Pluto’s status as a planet, moons and asteroids.

After being welcomed with a standing ovation, Tyson took his shoes off and proceeded to give his entire lecture in his socks.

“We’re going to have some fun tonight with the universe,” Tyson commented.

The lecture began with a slide titled, “Science in Media.” The “Cosmos” series was described enthusiastically by Tyson as being a 13-part documentary on the universe, which airs on FOX network television Sunday nights and reaches 181 countries with 47 different languages.

Tyson continued the evening with a slide titled, “Pluto (It’s Still Not a Planet),” referencing his involvement with the push for Pluto to no longer be classified as a planet. “I didn’t pull the trigger, but I drove the getaway car,” Tyson said.

Tyson said he had tried to conjure up words of condolence for those upset about the status of Pluto, and the best he could come up with was, “Get over it.”

Later in his lecture, Tyson discussed that lunar eclipses are not as rare as people are lead to believe. The crowd laughed as Tyson elaborated with, “You think the universe is doing something rare for you.”

Tyson also explained that there is a minimal difference between a super moon and a full moon. The difference was explained with a pizza simile; a large moon is an 8.0-inch pizza and a super moon is an 8.03-inch pizza. Each full moon has its own name, and Tyson’s favorite is the Honey Moon in June. It is the lowest and most colorful full moon of the year.

The presentation came to an end as Tyson asked for the lights to be turned completely off. Displaying on the projection screen he showed an image of Saturn, with Earth as “pale blue dot” in the distance. While the lights were still out, he read an excerpt from Carl Sagan’s book, “Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.”

The lecture ended with a brief Q&A with audience members, followed by a book signing.