Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the most widely known astrophysicists. After rebooting the TV series “Cosmos”, and using Twitter to point out how blockbuster movies mess up the stars in the skies, Tyson is taking his ideas on the road. He’ll be appearing across Texas this month.
Tyson has no problem finding material to talk about. He takes issue with scientific inaccuracies in a wide range of movies. Explosions don’t make noise in outer space, for instance. In the movie Gravity, Sandra Bullock’s hair should have been floating in every direction.
His biggest qualm with that movie dealt not with a physics error but with a plot point: “Why is Sandra Bullock, a medical doctor, trying to fix my Hubble Space Telescope?” Tyson says. “Get her the hell off that telescope! She’s a medical doctor! I don’t bust into her operating room and say, ‘I got this. Open heart surgery? The astrophysicist is here!’”
However, Tyson says he’s not trying to be insufferable. While he may cringe at physics inaccuracies in movies, he also appreciates the many times films get science right. “If you do it right, I’m there for you,” he says. “I’m there for you. I still want you to watch a movie with me.”
Tyson received his master’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin. When asked whether Texas is the center of the universe – as many state residents may believe – Tyson gave a thorough reply. Texas is indeed at the center, he said, “just as a ship at sea looking in every direction will conclude that it is at the exact center of its own horizon.”
He also affirmed this from personal experience after living in the state for six years: “Something I took to heart is, when you’re driving from Texas to anywhere else, when you reach the border of Texas, you’re halfway there. No matter where else you’re going.”
Neil Tyson will be making several appearances in Texas this month. For more information, check out his website.