Oh, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Are you ever wrong? And are you ever not smashingly dressed? I mean, this sun vest…
Neil deGrasse Tyson is really working his upcoming gig as host of Cosmos Space Time Odyssey, a resurrection of Carl Sagan’s famous series Cosmos, a series due to air in 2014 and produced by Seth MacFarlane and, um, Fox.
In celebration of YouTube’s “Geek Week” (don’t they know that every week is geek week on the internet?), Neil dGT, otherwise known as “your own personal astrophysicist,” offers 10 reasons to love science. He all but dares viewers not to love these scientific snippets.
What list wouldn’t start with Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronomer who made space cool again? NdGT rightly picks the video in which Hadfield wrings water out of a washcloth on the ISS for the spotlight.
Next up is a deep sea fish called Macropinna microstoma, which has a transparent head and tubular eyes with glowing green lenses.
At number eight, the Northern Lights, everyone’s favorite freaky natural phenomenon (the video here is from Northern Lights over Finland supercharged by a solar storm). I’ve only been fortunate enough to see these once in Michigan when I was in the 7th grade. They streaked green across the sky and I thought we were being invaded by aliens. I’m still kind of disappointed.
Then we’re on to a slow motion video of a flaming charcoal dropping and bouncing onto a surface of liquid oxygen. Where’s the warning not to try this one at home, kids?
Ironically, the next on the list is on that NdGT scoffed at a little bit during his recent rant about aliens neglecting to find signs of intelligent life on Earth—Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from the edge of space. I’ve watched this video at least a dozen times. I’ve gone skydiving—it’s pretty much the most awesome adrenaline rush ever—and I cannot freakin’ imagine this. Baumgartner is a total stud, even if this jump was only from 1/16th off the surface of the globe.
Next, NdGT pays homage to his mentor and friend, Carl Sagan. This video, “The Frontier is Everywhere,” sums up everything Sagan stood for—his awe at the universe and the capabilities of humans. The humans who reach the stars, he argues, will be a better version of ourselves. In other words, there is hope for our future.
Just when the list seemed light on robots, we get a clip from Boston Dynamics. With funding from DARPA, Boston Dynamics developed a robot cheetah that can run over 28 mph—fast enough to win the Olympic gold. It’s amazing to watch the Cheetah Robot run…until you imagine it chasing you.
Next up is one of my favorite advancements in recent years, courtesy of the Superconductivity Group at the School of Physics and Astronomy in Tel Aviv. A magnetic disc covered with superconducting liquid nitrogen locks onto a supermagnetic field so tightly that it stays on track even while levitating, changing direction, or being tilted in the air. This advancement may pave the way for flying cars, hoverboards, and kick-ass roller coasters.
Okay, NdGT. We love science already! What else can you possibly have to show us?!
Number 2 is amazing anamorphic illusions, which features the bending, or apparent bending/slanting, of 3-D objects. Except they might be 2-D objects. It’s hard to tell. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that the clip features the bending of reality.
And finally, what list wouldn’t end with a personal plug? We get a video with animated hand drawings and a narration from Neil deGrasse Tyson himself pondering the purpose of the universe.
Of course it has a purpose—to accumulate awesome videos that make people love science!
Want more science? Follow the immortal words of NdGT: “Turn off your electronic device, go outside, and look around a bit. Nature is calling you. Go on. The Internet will still be here.”