The Cosmos

The all-encompassing scientific exploration show Cosmos rebooted today. Hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, it's an examination of astronomy, life, and the scientific method.

I thought it was excellent and it will be appointment television for me now. And the power of this kind of show is in shaping a huge audience's view of what science is and what it means for us. Emphasizing both persecution of scientists and the huge advances made by the incredibly young scientific method in the last few centuries, NDT (can I call you NDT? NDGT?) calls attention to how science functions within the broader society of humanity.

And his monologue at the end about Carl Sagan, host of the original Cosmos (which I definitely need to watch) was powerful and struck a personal chord with me. Carl Sagan, among a select few others like Richard Feynman, was one of the most influential and accomplished science communicators. My professional goal is to be an effective science communicator and I draw inspiration from greats like Sagan.

Science is an enterprise that functions within society. It requires researchers, theorists, journalists, communicators, policymakers, lawmakers, and voters. It requires time and money and, above all, iteration. Science requires support and skepticism. And it should instill in all of us a sense of wonder and curiosity and awe about our universe and ourselves and our future. At least if people like me do our job right.

If you are reading this and are on the fence about Cosmos, I say dive right in. It is important, crucial really, to let oneself bask in the infinitesimal smallness of our existence and our unique ability to probe nature for its truths.