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tv   Charlie Rose  Bloomberg  January 1, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EST

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♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: neil degrasse tyson is here and may know him as the most powerful nerd in the universe. he calls himself a servant of science. he is the longtime drafter of the planetarium and new york and also the host of a new talk show on the national geographic channel called "star talk." it brings the universe down to earth. i am pleased to have neil degrasse tyson back at his table. welcome. >> we go way back, my first time is in the 90's.
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i would say that i'm in the family. thank you. charlie: congratulations. >> we are all very happy about that. we think it is the first time ever that there is a science talk show on television. we did not do it for that purpose, but it just turned out that way. charlie: what i like in reading about it is a came to you and wanted you to do a television show and you said, why do you just bring the cameras into my radio show? that will be just fine. >> i wanted to keep it simple. i didn't want to do anything more. there was budget to do set dressing and part of that as we filmed the whole of the universe. i get to announce that from the hall of the universe. who knows where this is? from the room of dark curtains. charlie: you have come to the deep hole. i am here in the deep hole. >> it is still structured the same. i have a comedian, i have a guest.
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charlie: that would be you. >> i happen to think the universe is completely hilarious, but i have some people who think that we professionally. there is a main guest who is typically someone from pop culture. that is the real difference here between what you might otherwise expect for a science talk show. my guests are many of the same guests that you would see tuning into late-night talk shows circuits, but i'm asking them different questions. i'm asking them where their science teachers in their life that they liked or hated? find out how science and technology has impacted their livelihood. charlie: you are not looking for people of pop culture who happen to like science, you are looking just and before people who are interested in the program. >> it matters that you have heard of them because then you will take an interest in them from the beginning and then you learn these extra things about them. do they have a nerd underbelly that would not reveal itself in
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anybody else's --? if they want to break into a fight about which captain they preferred in star trek. [laughter] >> or did han solo shoot first? so many of these nerd questions are drawn from the nerd verse. so, i think there are many people who have hidden interests, or maybe there is an amber that needs to be fans and then it will ignite and then you will see and feel and hear all of their interests that they express about. charlie: or is it people are simply just curious about things they did not know about and are here is about the future? >> everyone of us, to a person, was deeply curious about our environment has children. scientists tend to not ever lose that and they stay curious their whole lives. i think other people get it be not of them. they get it worn out of them. i am in search of that soul of curiosity that i think continues
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to lurk in all adults. charlie: what happens? do we tap it down? >> what happens if you are in a class and you say what is that and they say sit down it is not time. do your lesson. our school system tends to be -- reward people who obey. people who do exactly what they are told. people who hand things in on time. those are the honor students, the best students as we have come to define them. yet, the student who is distracted by the butterfly could be the next great naturalist, but that does not get rewarded in school. because you should be studying for this curriculum that we have established for you. so, i think we should do it all, but do not suppress -- yes, you need a curriculum and exams, but if you see energy in a student being expressed by questioning their environments, that should be nurtured, not somehow declared that it is out of line.
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charlie: is that you as a kid? [laughter] >> no, i think teachers -- i had energy in the classroom. it was a six grade teacher who noticed that i had all this energy, social energy, bordering on disruptive, and i had an interest in the universe. all of my book reports were on what the men was like an mars and the space program. charlie: even then? >> starting at age nine but it did not really gel until age 11. then the teacher noted for me that the hayden planetarium, the local planetarium in new york, had classes on the universe. i started taking these classes after hours. backing get you tired. after school you go to do another thing and that tapped me down. in the class. now, i had a whole new universe,
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literal and figurative universe to devote my energies to. charlie: when did you know that what you wanted to do was be an astrophysicist? >> at age nine was the first visit to the hayden planetarium. charlie: that did it for you? >> that put something in my veins. i still that is the university called me and not who called it. i said, wow, -- of course, growing up in the rocks, there are not many stars visible anywhere in new york, especially in the bronx at the time. this guy in the planetarium was magical to me, i did not even that is real, i thought it was a hoax. i had seen this guy from the bronx and this is not it. therefore, it must be a hoax, not knowing that of course it is per train the real sky. by age 11, then i had the answer. i had the answer to that annoying questions that adults asked ghostwritten -- children, what you want to be when you grow up. charlie: and your answer was? >> astrophysicist. i have been on a mission ever since. charlie: you have said before that when you go outside you
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always like that. >> yes. charlie: and that too many of us do not do that. >> i did that even back when it was dangerous to do that because pretty -- laws, you have to really look at every five seconds. so, i would risk the incident just for looking at. any time, especially at night, but also in the daytime, i will look up and want to know what the moon is doing. it is harder to see it. it is visible. the sun is so dominant that the moon does not call attention to itself as well in the daytime as it does at night. so, i look for the moon, phases, at night a check for planets coming out. then the most beautiful time of night, photographically speaking is twilight. there is the current of twilight colors.
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this unjust just that, the men becomes more apparent. the first stars you see, generally are not stars, they are planets because they are brighter. i always joke with people, if you ever do starlite starbright, make a wish him a star, and your wishes not come true, it was because you are wishing on planets. [applause] charlie: you were off course in the beginning. >> so, right now, in the season, venus is quite striking over in the western side after sunset. when you from new york city, it is kind of over new jersey and you would confuse it with planes coming in and out of newark airport. so, if you're western horizon is near an airport, you are surely seeing venus and you thought it was an airplane, that is how brightest lights are. charlie: have you ever run it to write a science fiction novel? >> yes, but i do not have talent in writing. charlie: did you have a story? >> i have a story it is ready to
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go. i can advise on such a story, but in terms of character development and emotions -- i don't have the experience certainly not writing it and probably also -- charlie: but you know a story that would be compelling? >> i have it in my mind right now. the world is at war. ok? charlie: the world that we know is that where? >> the world that we know is that war and in some very disruptive way, not with large weapons, but with regional battles everywhere, and people are choosing sides and an asteroid is discovered. charlie: tell us when asteroid is. >> an asteroid is a craggy chunk of rock in varying sizes. there are countless tens of thousands of them probably hundreds of thousands of them and they orbit between mars and jupiter, most of them.
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some of them have wayward orbits. it crosses the orbit of the earth. some, as in thousands of them. if you do the math, you learned that earth and these asteroids will collide with one another. guaranteed. eventually. we want to do is keep track of all the earth crossing objects. and monitor them. ideally, you want to put a lojack on them or something, where are you now at this time? so, once you do that, we learned that there is an asteroid that could render us all extinct, so at that moment everyone who sees other humans as their enemy then come together and see the asteroid as a common enemy. and the technology that has been developed all around these countries in the world, there is a bit in the future so that formally developing countries are not technologically able. they are developing technology to fight wars and we find that we have to assemble pieces of all of these technologies -- charlie: to develop a common
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friend -- >> not only a common friend to we need pieces of technology for the deflection device that we put together. and we all think them by all. charlie: you can make this so real -- >> oh yes. had to stay come into play. the conflicts not only within countries but between countries -- charlie: go back to the science. you can make the science. this is real. you can make this as a real possibility? >> designs would be not only the threat of the asteroid in finding and searching it, this patient is and he deflected, the tools that you would use to engage in a deflection, if something does not exist isn't going to a laboratory and see the pressure on them to invent something that will work. and you find out that i have a piece of this by now i have to go to my enemy who invented mother peas and it comes together to make the whole thing work. it can be quite dramatic. then we have a little piece of the asteroid still hit earth. you have to flood a city or something rose hollywood does not buy the story. you have to destroy some city.
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i member in the movie "armageddon was quote, they managed to save earth, but the pieces hit the earth. those bits must have had good aim. when decapitated the chrysler building. they were aiming for major human monuments. most of our services ocean, so probably hit the ocean. you can still get to destroy cities with the tsunami. charlie: the last big one? >> two years ago in russia. there was one the size of the studio traveling 40,000 miles an hour, collided with earth's atmosphere above the town in the euro mountains. charlie: what would've happened if it had hit the center of manhattan island? >> that happened to explode about 20 miles up. 20-25 miles up. that is high enough so that the energy gets deposited into the atmosphere and dilutes before it reaches earth's surface. even so, that was enough of a shockwave to shatter essentially every single window in this any.
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while people wondering what they had just seen out the window, the light travels faster than sound. they see this bright light, the light of the explosion, look at the window, the shockwave comes, and faces get lacerated. 1600 people were injured. that was a shot across our bow. universe telling us, asking us, -- [laughter] >> if that happened over manhattan, there is a different problem when you shatter windows, because then the windows fall and they become these sharp sabers descending to the streets. possibly hurting or killing people. charlie: has the u.s. or any other country done a lot because they learn the lessons that happens a few years ago? >> more people are talking about it, but that asteroid we did not know was coming until it was too late. you might have three minutes of evacuation time. that was not large enough to catch it far enough away.
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plus, it is not large enough to render anybody extinct. charlie: if it is far enough away, we shoot it down or something? >> no, that is the macho -- the chimeric, gentler way is to deflected. charlie: how do you deflect it? >> there are some interesting plants that are out there all on paper, nothing has been built or funded. one way to do it is you take your spaceship, thai baht your outliner? that is your asteroid. it were your station nearby and just target there. they will feel one another and want to drift toward one another because of their mutual gravity, but you do not let that happen. you fire a little retro rocket to prevent that in the act of doing so slowly text the asteroid out of harms way. you don't have to destroy it, just make sure that on its route it does not hit earth anymore. it is fair to her you another day, but if you get good at this, it is just like shooting pool cues. you just knock them out of your way so that they do not --
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charlie: that is one of the series. >> that is one way to do it. and you can monitor your progress. we don't just blow the thing out of the sky. here in america we are really good at blowing stuff up and less good at knowing where the pieces will go when you are done. it is very messy to try to explode the asteroid. you do not know who break into two pieces and i have to evacuate both coasts. it is a challenge. by the way, this exists and it works on paper. engineers have worked this out. but there is no plan in place, no international collaboration in place. to fund this. suppose it is headed for the indian ocean, do you tell all the indian ocean countries you have to think for yourself? but if we have the most advanced space program at the time, then should we pay for it? do tax them up at -- as part of the gdp? do you hand that money to the most able country who can deflected?
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here is another one. let's say it's headed for the united states and we go deflected and the flexion fails. now it is going to hit europe. now what do you do. all of these problems -- charlie: we could put this in a movie cutting we? >> you're still thinking this is hollywood. charlie: what is the most important question unanswered for you? >> that is a great question and i have an unorthodox answer for you. for me the greatest question. it was how much a copout but it is not. i really feel this and think this. for me, the greatest unanswered questions are those questions we don't even yet know to ask. because the only manifest upon reaching some next frontier of ignorance. and so, yes, i want to know what dark matter is. 85% of the gravity of the universe, we have no idea what is causing it. we don't even have the right to call it dark matter. they are working on it.
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we have top people working on this. at this moment, we do not know what it is. i have a preferred answer. particle physicists want to say it is a particle because they are particle physicists. [laughter] higgs boson is a very powerful particle. there is dark energy. the universe is accelerating and expanding against the wish of gravity. we don't know what is causing that. we don't know how we went from -- that is a transition that is on the frontier. how do you go from organic molecules to self-replicating life based on those organic molecules? charlie: we don't know that either. neil: we don't know what happened before the big bang. we have top people working on it.
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[laughter] i will put you on the speed dial. charlie: dark matter. neil: we don't know. we should call it dark energy. dark energy -- we don't know what it is. how did life get here? charlie: and the big bang? neil: the beginning of the universe. charlie: i know that. neil: duh. [laughter] if you turn the clock back, it was smaller and hotter. charlie: smaller and hotter. neil: you run the clock all the way back and you learned that universe was in the same place at the same time. extremely high temperatures.
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trillion is the highest number anyone has any comfort with, but the temperature was hotter than that. it was unstable and explodes. you have the birth of the universe. we do know is around before that. charlie: the universe -- life-sustaining -- neil: i would order it that way. i care about the dna. all of those are very real questions that exist with us today. the answers to those, you start dishing out nobel prizes. i want to know what questions we are not intellectually mature enough to ask yet. they will reveal themselves after we answer these questions. charlie: a new question has revealed itself in the last 15 years? neil: yeah. dark energy was discovered in 1988. 17 years ago. charlie: who discovered it? neil: two teams.
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they were studying a supernova. a particular species of supernova is like a standard candle. a yardstick in measuring time and distance in the universe. they are very potent and the ability to measure the expansion rate of the universe and the size of the universe. two teams are working on the same problem and arrived at the same answer and shared the nobel prize for that. ♪ ♪ charlie: i assume it is the most frequently asked question -- are
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♪ charlie: i assume it is the most frequently asked question -- are we alone? neil: the people i sit next to on an airplane, once they learned what i do, astrophysicist -- charlie: how do they get to the question? neil: i think some people still look up. you cannot help but wonder. all these stars. we like to know there are stars just like the sun and planets orbiting the stars. if they are planets, how could you now wonder if there is life? if there is intelligent life, are they smarter than us? if they are, should we be scared of them? my best guess is the universe is
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teeming with life. the galaxy is proxy for other galaxies. teeming with life, but the complex life might be much rarer. charlie: why is that? neil: here is the argument -- you have the timeline of the earth. 4.5 billion years. what this planet out there. some planets were born yesterday. you don't know when in the timeline. here is earth. most of the time, the darkness hits earth, there is only single cell life. if we are randomly coming upon planets and earth is any measure of things -- we spend 3.5 billion years as single cell life on earth. that we have an explosion of life. the chemistry of the atmosphere
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changed. oxygen is like rocket fuel for complex life. life now has the launch to become complex. the system could support it. now you have limbs and detectors like eyes and sensors. it is a stunning development. then you have complex life. that is a smaller piece of the total timeline. where will you find intelligent life? we only know this little bit that we define as intelligent. there are planets we could land on. who is to say we will find what we call intelligent? maybe the planet has conditions that are specially right for complex life. if they did, they would have billions of years to develop intelligent life. if that is the case, it is quite
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clear to me that if they are observed us and landed here and looked, it would be clear to them that there is no sign of intelligent life on earth. [laughter] charlie: they would land and look around. neil: nope. not what we're looking for. [laughter] in charlie: they may be people, but they are not intelligent. [laughter] charlie: what is on mars? neil: the curiosity rover is the size of an suv. charlie: what is up there. water? neil: the martian surface has rampant evidence of running water. charlie: that is something. neil: yes. when i mean evidence, the riverbeds, dry riverbeds -- when
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you look at things that floodwaters have done and longtime rivers have done and the grand canyon kinds of things, you see these features on mars. charlie: when do we see them? neil: anytime you take a photograph of a surface. the resolution is very hard to pick up. you want to get close. then you could see ridges and valleys. charlie: that tells you water is there? neil: certainly liquid. that means that a river was there for some time. you do not meander overnight. not only that, there are dried lake beds. salt deposits at the bottom. how do you get salt deposits? standing water that had minerals deposited in it. the water evaporates. when there is no water left, you
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get a salt lake. you fly over utah, that is what salt lake city is sitting next to. charlie: is it feasible and doable? neil: people say, the radiation -- we have clever engineers. i have no doubt they will figure out the technology. it is just money. it is only ever money at all times. charlie: are you disappointed we don't do more in space? neil: the curiosity part of me disappointed. the politically astute side of me fully understands why that is the case. charlie: a pr move? neil: we have always had priorities. when he went to the moon, we had plenty of other priorities. the civil rights movement. the cold war.
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we did it because we were at war with the soviets. that was an act of war essentially without the weapons. and we were not at war, the motivation to go to the moon, we would tell ourselves, we went to the moon because we are americans. we are explorers. it is in our dna. that might be true, but the people who wrote the checks don't care. when security is at risk, that is when money flows. charlie: but should we create that kind of urgency again for something like going to the moon?
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neil: let me go visit china and whispered to the head of china, psst, can you leak a memo that says you want to put military bases on mars? [laughter] don't tell anyone. the memo shows up in the pentagon. we would be on mars in 10 months. one month to design, build, and find a space craft. that is how motivated i think we would be. that is how motivated we were in the 1960's. i don't want to go to mars for military reasons. i think there a strong, economic one to make. i think it takes longer than the proverbial elevator ride. it takes maybe twice as long as an elevator ride. i voted for my representation in congress. i want them to listen to me for longer than an elevator ride. it is simple. if you're going to space in a big way, mining asteroids, tourist jaunts on the moon, military activities, all of this to accomplish this would require
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advancing space here. patents would be granted. you have these discoveries weekly if not daily in your newspapers. that infuses a culture of inquiry. a culture of exploration. a culture of innovation. you come from a culture of innovation, stuff gets solved. your whole mindset is different. charlie: how we lost the culture of innovation? neil: yes. charlie: what about silicon valley? neil: a great culture of innovation. i was misrepresented in some headlines when i said -- i gave a talk and there was a question. someone said -- i said the world has problems that are bigger than can be solved just waiting for your next app. we have problems.
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housing. poverty. disease. climate. if we sit down and play with our apps, it won't get solved. the headline was, "tyson attacks entrepreneurs." charlie: what did you mean? neil: what i mean is to bask in the pleasures of your next app will hide from you the fact that there are larger problems that need to be solved. charlie: are you saying the next app should be something that could influence climate change and not something that could yet -- neil: i don't know how an app could help fix the climate just yet. if there is one, i want to know about it. i don't know how an app to get rid of poverty. charlie: maybe develop an
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economic model? neil: sure. ok. that doesn't build bridges or tunnels and transportation. charlie: of all these people like jeff bezos and elon musk who want to build vehicles in space -- don't laugh at me. neil: no, somebody has got to do that. you want someone there. they affect how other people think. in classes i have spoken to, one day i went to work at spacex. they are the smartest kids. i want to explore what he is doing. i want to invent a new car. the next rocket. that is the influence that fuses a culture of when you go into space in a big way. everything else comes in after that. charlie: when you get up in the morning --
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neil: i hope the phone doesn't ring. i want to play with my kids. date with my wife. then go to my lab. charlie: are you serious? neil: what happens when i get a phone call because something twitched in the universe and they want a soundbite for the evening news? i serve those interests. i'm a servant for the public appetite for news. i don't go door-to-door. i will never tell someone who to vote for. that's not what i do. i'm an educator. charlie: when they continue to do cosmos, was carl a mentor of yours? neil: that is an easy way out for people to mention the relationship.
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we met a few times. my first time meeting was influential for me. he was a professor. he was a guest on johnny carson's tonight show and published his own books. he was famous. he is making time for me, a kid. he showing me his lab at cornell. he reached back. grab a book. signed it. it was cool. it was a book that he wrote. [laughter] he didn't even look. i still have that book. it is signed to a future astronomer. i met him a few more times after that. people think the big things are big.
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more often than not, little things are big. i was a little part of his day, but he was a big part of my life. it is the little things. charlie: roll tape. >> there are two types of dangers. we have arranged society on science and technology p at this combustible mixture of ignorance and power, sooner or later it will blow up in our faces. who is running the science and technology in a democracy where people don't know anything about it? the second thing i'm worried about is that science is more than a body of knowledge.
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it is a way of thinking. in way of interrogating the universe with a find understanding of human fallibility. if we are not able to ask skeptical questions to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical, and we are up for grabs for the next charlatan political religious figure and going along. it wasn't enough to enshrine some rights in the constitution in the bill of rights. people have to be educated. they had to practice their skepticism in the education, otherwise we do not run the government. the government runs us. neil: was at the same table? [laughter] that is kind of spooky. he is alive now as he was then. charlie: that was the famous interview i did. neil: yes. charlie: 1996. neil: he died that year.
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he said it better than any of us connecting science literacy with what it is to have an informed democracy. if you want to take control of your fate, you cannot do it if you are misinformed or underinformed about what matters. and in this 21st century, it is going to matter. charlie: i'm really concerned about this and the things you talked about. you got another award for your service to science in terms of raising the necessity of paying attention inside them popularizing science. neil: thanks for mentioning that. charlie: i worry that are we losing not our competitive edge, but the race to develop the brightest minds in sufficient quantities that we serve science
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as well as other people may come to serve science? neil: a lot of focus tends to be on who the brightest students and can we get them interested in science and invent something to save the world? i think there are world always be the smartest kids in the class. there will always be that. i'm not word about them. i'm worried about the rest of everyone else -- worried -- i'm not worried about them. i'm not good at math. i'm into the other stuff and somehow be ok with that -- suppose i said i don't read because i was never good with nouns and words. i stick with science you would laugh me out of the room.
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these are fundamental parts of civilization. the arts and the sciences. it defined civilization ever since there has been civilization to separate yourself from one or another and claim to be -- that is a combustible mixture, especially that kind of ignorance is wielded by people of power. for me it is sufficient to say left us spread and appreciation of science to everyone. you don't have to be scientists, but understand what it is. charlie: more likely to support it? you are supporting the idea that
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science is important and you are creating a culture that respects it and therefore wants to enhance it. neil: couldn't have said it better myself. if people understand what science is and how it works and why it works, you could vote intelligently on issues that involve scientific principles and issues. you could know who is not telling the truth and who is in analyze it. charlie: do we had too many scientific deniers? those who want to look the other way? neil: there are some of those. there i implicate some elements of journalism? there is a journalistic ethos. the journalist obligation is to give equal column space to all sides. if someone says the earth is round and some and says the earth is flat, at some point, you'll make a judgment. the earth is flat people are flat-out wrong. i won't give them attention. and so, i think journalists are smart people and highly educated and curious. had the curiosity of kids. that is a great thing to have.
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at some point, invest your brain energy to recognize when something is fringed. report it that way. people are properly informed about what is and is not true. what is in emerging truth? what is a truth that is in doubt? what is something has been refuted? be responsible on that frontier. it will help my job. ♪
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♪ charlie: you are a journalist. you are a journalist. neil: i host a talk show. i cannot say i'm not a journalist. charlie: not only that, but you are in pursuit of questions. neil: yes. charlie: i thought you might have a disparity in the sense of journalism. neil: we need all the journalists i think we can get. i attended the white house correspondents dinner. it was teeming with journalists. that is fun. it is a zoo for sure. i agree i am a journalist to ask questions.
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the only question we do not ask is the who? who moved the black hole? there is not an answer to that who. in fact, if you take einstein's equation -- charlie: there is no idea what a blackhole is? neil: it is a region of space where matter has collapsed to such density that the gravity -- if matter collapses and gets denser, the surface gravity gets higher. if you are standing there you will weigh more. it would be harder to escape. at some point, this collection of blob of matter has condensed so significantly that for you to
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escape, you would have to travel faster than the speed of light. that means light cannot escape. if light cannot escape, you are not getting out of this place. it is not only dark, but it is a hole. three-dimensional. blackhole. charlie: how long have we known about it? neil: einstein -- he could have predicted their existence with his own equations, but he didn't, interestingly enough. charlie: he was interested in them? neil: no. i asked stephen hawking over dinner, went in at isaac newton make certain discoveries with his own mathematics that he invented? his response was, einstein did not come up with black holes. you cannot think up everything. [laughter] charlie: what else did you talk about at dinner?
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neil: the conversation was slow, of course. charlie: i have talked to him as well. you have to submit questions. neil: this was just banter. the conversation is going. you might even send something his way, but then you keep your own conversation with others. later on, that answer comes out. you rejoin the conversation. charlie: what dazzles you about him? the triumph of his life? the quality of his mind? neil: all of the above. i'm glad the public on a glimpse in "the theory of everything." i got to see a prescreening of it. it was clear to me if there was going to be an academy award for best actor, it would go to his name -- charlie: eddie redmayne. neil: he became stephen hawking.
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he became stephen hawking. the actor had transcended acting. there's something else going on. delighted that the public got a glimpse of this. i think what it says is and i cannot speak for disabled people because i have never been disabled in any way that matters in this world, but when you see someone with that level of disability meaningfully contributing to the world and be held up as one of the greatest minds there ever was, if i needed hope, i would mine that for hope of what i could do and be if i were disabled at least physically. the mind is still there. as an academic, i value what you can do with your mind. if anything, it gives you hope
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for what our species is capable of. charlie: explain to me time travel. neil: it has been suggested that there might be some law of physics we have yet to discover that would prevent you from going backwards in time. think about it. maybe there is a law of physics we have yet to discover. it would declare -- thou shalt not go back in time. if you do and you prevent your parents from meeting one another -- unlike the "terminator" series where they kill people so that they do not mate or prevent them from meeting or having sex -- that's really all you have to do. whoever started a revolution is not there. have the people have sex 10 minutes later, you would be a different person. if you go back and prevent your parents from meeting one another, you would have never been born to have lived to go back in time to prevent your parents from meeting one another. you have this paradox. it's a causality paradox. that being said, we have no shortage of interesting ways to go forward in time.
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we could speed that up. send you in a spaceship that goes fast. your time ticks more slowly. the electronics in your digital watch. your physiology, everything about you would tick more slowly. you would age more slowly than your twin on earth. you would have effectively gone into the future. that is one way to do it. you could also do it by gravitational fields. i think portrayed this in the film "interstellar." you could measure this. gps satellites that are farther away from earth than we are, the time ticks differently. but it sends you the correct time. how do they do that? we knew in advance about general relativity.
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the gps satellites are corrected for this time change by the formulation of einstein general theory of relativity now it could send the correct time down to a dispute other times, the times would separate from one another and you could not use gps satellite to tell you anything while we are on the earth surface. it is real, it is physics, it works. it is not something that we cherry picked. let people love political philosophies that differ from the truth. charlie: remember you told me about dust. neil: finally, not everyone
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comes out better than when they came in. [laughter] but thanks for your interest. in my life and work. charlie: it was dust to dust. the composition of the earth in dust within the human body. neil: ok. charlie: if you want to me with the basic fundamental things the essence of science and your work and others. neil: i think the single greatest gift that astrophysicists has brought civilization is the discovery back in 1957 by four authors. no movies are made of them. it is four and not just one. we romanticize the lone researcher burning the midnight oil. four of the working for a decade to get this result. they realized that the elements on the periodic table that we
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remember from chemistry class owe their origin to thermonuclear fusion in the cores of stars. fusion, light undermanned -- like elements under high temperatures to make heavy elements. if it stayed in stardust, it would not be interesting. but they happen to explode and scatter across the galaxy. all of these elements scatter into gas clouds. it then collapses and forms next generation star systems, one of which was ours. the very ingredient that comprised life is traceable to stars. they gave their lives billions of years before. we're not only figuratively but quite literally stars. charlie: i like that. finally, the notion of you, you
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don't have a mission. neil: not really. i'm a servant. that is what i think of myself. charlie: do you have things you want to accomplish? neil: i would say one of my favorite quotes -- i don't remember if i told you -- one of my favorite quotes that was uttered by an educator who said, "be ashamed to die until you have scored some victory with humanity." i want that on epitaph. i want that on my tombstone. charlie: "be a shame to die until you have scored some victory with humanity." neil: it can be anything.
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raising kids that are responsible. that is a very broadly defined victory. i think -- i'm not the first to say this. at least leave the world a little better off for you having lived in it. why not? clean up your mess. [laughter] after you have cleaned up the room you lived in, leave a flower behind. people could come in and say, this is a slightly better place. we could all celebrate each of our existence in this world and not lament it or regret it. there's so much in the world that regresses civilization. i wonder how far we would be were it not for such forces that operate in this world? charlie: thank you for coming.
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neil: thanks for having me. charlie: neil degrasse tyson for the hour. thanks for joining us. see you next time. ♪
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♪ emily: he got his start as a journalist with a front row seat to steve jobs' inner circle. and wrote the seminal book on the early years at apple. then, michael moritz decided to try his luck in venture capital. he went on to become one of the most heralded investors in silicon valley history, joining the boards of google and yahoo!, then, a few years ago, took a step back for a rare health condition he has never revealed. joining me today on "studio


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