Machine Ghost

NovaScience Now

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Over the past year I’ve become obsessed with NovaScience Now and Neil Degrasse Tyson as an [understandable] academic.  That’s one of my most desirable qualities: to learn to talk and write just like NDT or Richard Dawkins–people who can put such complex, theoretical, scientific ideas into perfectly lucid conversation that I (who doesn’t have a science background) can understand with ease.  Okay, okay I know that I don’t “get” astrophysics, and that’s okay with me; I do, however, get what they’re talking about in their shows or books–it’s clear and it gets me thinking.  As I was walking through my neighborhood this afternoon listening to NDT talk at a science pub meeting (Nova Science’s special podcast), he responded to someone asking about what it means to be science literate, and also how does one teach science literacy.  In so many words, NDT remarked that science literacy isn’t about answers, it about making the questions.  If he didn’t have a nagging ignorance about what’s out there, he wouldn’t be in the business.  He argues that so many people are in a rush to name everything, or to have answers for it all, that they don’t allow the time to ask questions about the unknown. (In one example, he pointed out how quickly people are to “name” random shining lights as UFOs, when in fact a UFO by nature is “unidentified”–you can’t identify a unidentifyable object without stripping it of its core essence.)  Anyway, listening to this podcast made me feel more comfortable about my own research–that I need to remind myself that it’s a starting point, a place to ask the questions.  If I answered everything, there wouldn’t be a conversation left to be had.  It’s okay to ask and search and not know.  (Hard work helps, too.)  So, thanks NGT–my new (continued?) academic hero.


Written by kimlacey

October 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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