In honor of Manhattanhenge this week, Neil deGrasse Tyson's hand-drawn homage, from the altogether wonderful Mapping Manhattan.
The nature of scientific genius is to question what the rest of us take for granted, and then do the experiment.
Give a kid a book, and you change the world. In a way, even the universe.
The human talent for pattern-recognition is a two-edged sword: We’re especially good at finding patterns, even when they aren’t really there — something known as false pattern-recognition.
We hunger for significance — for signs that our personal existence is of special meaning to the universe. To that end, we’re all too eager to deceive ourselves and others.
Science works on the frontier between knowledge and ignorance. We’re not afraid to admit what we don’t know – there’s no shame in that. The only shame is to pretend that we have all the answers.
The idea that science is just some luxury that you’ll get around to if you can afford it is regressive to any future a country might dream for itself. Innovations in science and technology are the engines of the 21st-century economy; if you care about the wealth and health of your nation tomorrow, then you’d better rethink how you allocate taxes to fund science. The federal budget needs to recognize this.
It seems like right now, we’re leaning on the private sector to pick up that slack, with for-profit companies like SpaceX, for example. The private sector requires quarterly reports and annual returns on the investors’ capital. It’s not a 20-year baseline. It’s not even a five-year baseline.
If you really want to invest in the long-term health of a nation, the government needs to step in for the long-term returns on those investments.
Imagination alone is not enough, because the reality of nature is far more wondrous than anything we can imagine.
This adventure is made possible by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a simple set of rules: Test ideas by experiment and observation; build on those ideas that pass the test; reject the ones that fail; follow the evidence, wherever it leads; and question everything.
Accept these terms, and the cosmos is yours.