You are probably familiar with Neil deGrasse Tyson. He is as brilliant as he is entertaining. That fact is why I was so excited when I saw his name pop-up on my queue for the Nerdist Podcast.
In the past, I suggested some electrical engineering podcasts. The Nerdist isn’t like those. Hosted by Chris Hardwick, each episode includes an interview. As the podcast’s name suggests, most of the guests have some roots in today’s nerd or geek culture. So while not an engineering podcast, there may be the occasional guest that interest you.
4 Great Things Neil deGrasse Tyson on Nerdist Said
This episode was the first time I took notes while listening to the Nerdist. Here are four quotes I captured, that make listening to the entire episode worthwhile.
(I paraphrased these quotes.)
- “You have to learn how to be closed-minded.” This quote came up while discussing how as children we are very open-minded. At some point during as adults, we reach a point where we no longer think we have anything else to learn. That is the definition of being closed-minded.
- “We need to redefine the definition of smart.” Mr. Tyson’s example is comparing the valedictorian to the rest of the class. Was the valedictorian the smartest person or were they just excellent at memorizing facts and taking tests? Those attributes do not necessarily define smart. Look at how many drop-outs develop the technologies that re-charge the entire world. For me, this comment resonated with me. For a long time, I liked to respond to being called smart with: “It’s not that I’m smarter than you, I’ve just read more books.” (FYI, people don’t like that…)
- “If you didn’t die from natural causes, you would never cross the road.” A bit out there, but this discussion was on immortality. What if we cured or solved “aging”? Would you ever take an unwarranted risk again? Tyson uses the example of crossing the wrong. Would cross the road be worth the risk of being hit by a car? No, of course not. If you’re immortal, there is nothing on the other side that you can’t wait to come to you. But if a car strikes you, then you’ve lost. Changes the risk equation, no?
- “Sometimes asking an important question matter more than knowing the answer.” Never before did I know Tyson was a huge fan of Newton. His comment was that Newton asked a great number of questions, but did not solve (or at least publish a solution) to them. And that is okay because it encourages others to consider them as well.
Tyson’s comments on Newton interested enough to learn more about the famous physicist. Anyway, I enjoyed the episode. You can download and listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Nerdist Podcast, here.