Project 22 – 1 October 2007

Neil deGrasse Tyson at Cornell University

Today’s Project 22 entry isn’t the greatest composition and the colors are, well, terrible (auto ISO killed me here), but it definitely commemorates the highlight of my day: attending the Olin Lecture given by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. His two-hour talk ranged over an array of topics, including a strong emphasis on why the United States is and will continue to fall behind other countries in terms of scientific and technological achievement. To some extent, it was preaching to the choir to give such a talk at Cornell, but it’s important to hear nonetheless. As a speaker, he was extremely engaging and entertaining–sometimes it felt more like stand-up comedy than an intellectual discourse, but nobody seemed to mind. I ought to have spent time jotting down some of his excellent remarks, but, alas, I did not. Here is one of the most poignant in paraphrase: “You know, as a culture, that you’ve stopped innovating when your first achievement still looks impressive.”

3 Responses to “Project 22 – 1 October 2007”

  • Ouch. And yet, irritatingly, yes precisely.

  • Pretty much, yeah. I don’t know if you noticed the quote behind him, but it’s the famous one about landing on the moon from Kennedy. The point that he’s making as I’m taking this photo is that the part of the quote that we always hear isn’t the bit that got the money for Apollo. The paragraph that came before this one was talking about the threat posed by the Soviets in space (they’d just put a man in orbit a week or two before). Tyson’s point was that it was defense/war that got us to the moon, which is exceptionally true (and also the reason we haven’t been back).

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