Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the most strongest presence in popular science. Now in its third season of Cosmos: Possible World’s, Dr. Tyson also balance life as a talk show for StarTalk (based on a long time radio show and podcast) and hosting panels.
What makes Dr. Tyson so popular is his ability to talk for hours with about basically any topic in the universe in a way everyone can understand.
The Koaliiton spoke to Dr. Tyson about his involvement in Cosmos, the COVID 19 pandemic and comics.
“I carry three titles [for Cosmos: Possible World]. The obvious one is host of the show. I’m also a narrator, which makes sense since I’m also the host. Although not all programs are that way. I mean, not all productions in the world are that way, but it is in this case. I’m Executive Science Editor.”
“The way this unfolds is, Ann thinks up topics that she feels would make a good story or a story arc. She has more topics than what are ultimately put into production, which is a good problem because then you can cherry pick and get the best stories that… and by the way, not all the best stories lend themselves to video storytelling. There are other filters that get invoked. Once those stories are conceived, then we bring together a panel of scientists.”
“While I’m an astrophysicist, one of the great contributions of Cosmos is how seamlessly it blends traditionally separate sciences. You come through school and you have your biology book, and then your chemistry book and it’s a different teacher, and a different professor and it’s a different book.”
“We think of them as the stovepipe channels through nature. Of course, nature doesn’t distinguish one from the other at all. It is a complete blend. As Cosmos tells stories, it is a complete blend of geology and biology, and chemistry and physics and astrophysics.”
“Especially in this one, engineering, because we explore engineering solutions to our modern challenges. The committee comes together, and explores whether the science that has been suggested in the storyline is accurate or/and might have read something on a frontier.”
“Is that just a fringe idea or is it mainstream? Or is it just a fun idea, but there’s nothing really against like wormholes? Wormholes are real. They’re mathematically real. We just don’t know how to make one. How would you fold that into a story?”
“You want to be honest about how unreachable it is technologically, even if you are candid about the fact that the science can take you there perhaps one day. It goes through that filter.”
“Some stories are modified, others are removed, because they’re based on a scientific principle that has been overturned, or not sufficiently founded to base an important element of the story on. Okay, so then all of that get readjusted. Then I see the scripts, and I’m the last gate of what would occur between the script and what comes out of my mouth.”
While Cosmos showcases an array of topics what ultimately ends up making an episode is whether it can translate to the masses.
“That is something we confronted every minute of every creative attempt. There is, ‘Okay, here is a really great idea we want to convey, but how are we going to show this? We don’t know how we’re going to show this. If we do, we might fail. Can I still talk about it? Should I still talk about it?'”
“Then you’re just watching me speak, and that’s not fun. Certain story arcs, needed just simple narrative to bridge other story arcs that have the visual interest. At all times, there’s a triage going on between, ‘Can this work visually? Then we don’t need heavy explanation, because the visuals carry it. Does this require an explanation?”
“How can the visuals help it, supplement it rather than be the main thing? ‘Then with the visual then, can the intensity of the music that comes along with it, can that carry your emotions so that we can get you from one story arc to another?’ All of this came together for it.
“Everybody is making this judgment at all times. ‘Is this working scientifically, educationally, visually, musically?’ On top of that, we’re not just teaching you, we want it to land within you in a way that compels you to want to stand up and make a better world.”
“To reach for the possible worlds that we offer, and that affects the story. There are some really great science stories out there, but that don’t have this kind of compelling urge to make you stand up at the end of them.”
“They’re on the cutting floor but it didn’t pass the Cosmos threshold, of what it takes to influence the viewer in a way that does not come across as being preachy. Yes, this was a continual investment of the balance of these forces and elements.”
While Cosmos is beloved by all Dr. Tyson also believes Batman would be a huge fan of id the show.
“I think Batman would love Cosmos. First, he’s human and he’s learned. There are many times we’ve seen him in his library reading. He cares about technology, although he’s not as clever about that as Tony Stark”
Check out our full interview in the video above where Dr. Tyson talks about COVID 19, the Marvel Universe and even more about Cosmos.