Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks to Google

In February the folks at Google invited astrophysicist Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson to their New York offices to speak about his latest book The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet. Tyson is the Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York and a wonderfully engaging and humorous public speaker. Last week Google uploaded the video of his talk, which I’ve embedded below.

In the video Tyson explores the historical context of Pluto’s re-classification, the controversy surrounding the ‘demotion’ of Pluto and what it means to be a planet today. The Q&As after, not necessarily relating to the book, are interesting too; his description of the smoothness of the Earth for example, towards the end of the video, is just brilliant.

Whatever your views on Pluto’s status today, Tyson’s ability to eloquently and enthusiastically communicate science, in particular astronomy, is something we can all really enjoy.

Video courtesy AtGoogleTalks YouTube channel. Hat tip to my colleague Kerry.

One comment

  1. It is worth noting that at this point, even Tyson is moving towards the view that it might be too early in the field of planetary science to define the term planet at all. He has distanced himself from the controversial demotion vote by four percent of the IAU, most of whom are not planetary scientists, describing it accurately as “flawed.” It is also noteworthy that the IAU decision was immediately rejected by hundreds of professional astronomers in a petition led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. This debate is far from over.

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