World-renowned astrophysicist, science communicator and director of the New York Hayden Planetarium Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke at the Granada Theatre on Thursday as part of an event hosted by UCSB Arts & Lectures.
Though Tyson’s lecture was initially intended to be 45 minutes long followed by a Q&A and book signing, Tyson said he would go on for longer, reasoning that the universe is much too broad of a topic for a 45-minute discussion. Throughout the nearly two-and-a-half hour speech, Tyson covered a wide range of contemporary topics, including his reasoning in helping demote Pluto to a dwarf planet and the continued interest in searching for water on Mars.
Tyson went on to discuss the idea that life could have developed on other planets and migrated to Earth via asteroids (referred to as panspermia), the multiverse theory, the meteor that crashed in Chelyabinsk, the approaching asteroid Apophis and the need to reaffirm the importance of science in a country being rapidly outpaced by researchers elsewhere.
During the roughly hour-long Q&A session, Tyson continued to speak about his fondness of Isaac Newton, his skepticism toward the Dutch Mars One program and finished with a lengthy speech on the need to foster interest in science among adults and children — especially since science and technology play a vital role advancing civilization, according to Tyson.
Finally, Tyson ended the night by signing copies of Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier and The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet. Tyson, who has often been compared to Carl Sagan in his role as an ambassador of science, will be releasing a sequel to Sagan’s award-winning 1980 documentary series “Cosmos” titled “Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey” in spring 2014.