As some of you know (or may not be getting to know), I’m big on science education. I consider science literacy to be of paramount importance to be a citizen of this planet in the 21st century. But science education – especially in America – is sorely ineffectual and science and intellectual prowess has an unfortunate stereotype of not being sexy or cool. I think the fault lies with policy makers and the media, but it also has a lot to do with those of us who are in the sciences – we haven’t done a very good job of conveying its coolness. That’s why I think folks like Neil deGrasse Tyson is important, and important for parents (especially Dads) to know about.
He is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, at least that’s his day job. But on the side (and a big side it is), he is an author, TV personality, talk show host, actor, and speaker who’s had essentially one role and one message – to convey the coolness of space and science. He’s got a zillion books and articles about space written for the layperson to his credit, been on a million PBS and History and Discovery Channel (amongst others) shows, and in general has contributed to making science cool. They don’t call him the new Carl Sagan for nothing.
And don’t take my word for it. Take a look at this article by Carl Zimmer. It’s a profile by Zimmer on Tyson.
I write these posts because I think to be a good dad these days, amongst the many things we have to do for our kids is to be their intellectual and inspirational guide. Knowing or knowing of folks like Dr.Tyson helps with this. Take a look at his really eloquent response to why the things NASA does is good for America: