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Neil deGrasse Tyson Reddit AMA

Neil deGrasse Tyson Takes On the Universe, Haters, and Turtlenecks

No, Neil deGrasse Tyson will not be wearing a turtleneck for the return of Cosmos, a reincarnation of Carl Sagan's original PBS series hosted by our favorite social-media-savvy astrophysicist. On Aug. 4, Neil took to Reddit to answer the Internet's most pressing questions about Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which airs in 2014 on Fox.

In his fourth Ask Me Anything, Neil revealed what's returning to the Cosmos remake, offered sound advice to astrophysicists-in-training, and settled on his favorite GIF of himself once and for all. We've compiled the best quotes from Neil deGrasse Tyson's AMA that confirm, once again, that the new Cosmos host is, indeed, a badass.

What do you think is the most effective way to educate American citizens (and people in general) in order to increase scientific literacy?


"Dare I suggest that Cosmos, airing in primetime on network television, will play its role in this struggle."

What's your favorite .gif of yourself?

"I guess the original of me posturing while talking about Isaac Newton, that itself got pencil-sketched to become the 'badass' meme."

How similar will your new series be to the original? Will you cover similar, or the same topics?

"13 episodes, like the original. Cosmic Calendar returns. So does the Ship of the Imagination. But in 21st century versions. I, of course, am taking over as host. But I will be sans turtleneck."

What has surprised you the most about creating the new 'Cosmos'? The process as well as the reactions of those who hear about it?

"The people who say with disdain and disgust: 'It's appearing on Fox? Their viewers don't know any science!' And I simply reply, 'If true, that makes Fox the best network of them all on which to air this series.'"

What's your favorite part of the show? Do you enjoy filming? Why?

"You get a glimpse of the Space Ship of the Imagination from the trailer. It's a literal and figurative vehicle to move through space and time, and, quite frankly, it's badass. But that will be for viewers to judge. I enjoyed filming in the set for the ship. Gesturing to all manner of places in the universe — past and present."

Read on for Neil's tips for pursuing an astronomy career.

Do you think this remake is more information based or more theatrical? I'm afraid it'll be a little too sensationalized. Nothing's wrong with theatre, but I just hope it retains the educational element that made the first 'Cosmos' amazing.

"You presume that the delivery of informational is somehow mutually exclusive to theatrics. I'm not convinced of that. As I've said in an earlier answer, full-up tools of movie-making have never really been tapped for telling science stories. So the new Cosmos will live and thrive in both worlds, if we succeed as imagined."

Do you have any tips for a high school student who is interested in pursuing a career in astronomy/astrophysics?

"In whatever you choose to do, do it because it's hard, not because it's easy. Math and physics and astrophysics are hard. For every hard thing you accomplish, fewer other people are out there doing the same thing as you. That's what doing something hard means. And in the limit of this, everyone beats a path to your door because you're the only one around who understands the impossible concept or who solves the unsolvable problem."

What are your hopes for the series in terms of bringing more interest to the scientific community?

"I've never wanted to turn everyone into a scientist. What a boring world that would be. We want and need artists and philosophers and comedians and everybody else who fleshes out what we've come to call civilization. So the goal of Cosmos, and so much else of what I do professionally, is to sensitize people to why science matters, especially to our survival, but also to our soul of curiosity. And to our sense of who and what we are in the universe. Imagine if every member of congress had this perspective — this cosmic perspective. They could transform the country overnight, even if not a one of them were a scientist."

Watch the epic trailer for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey now, then catch up with Carl Sagan's original series on Netflix.

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