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The Future of Our World

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Lesson time 07:14 min

Neil presents his case for why scientific thinking and effective communication strategies are necessary for the progress of society—and why everything he's discussed is just the beginning of what's important to consider.

Neil deGrasse Tyson
Teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication
Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson teaches you how to find objective truths and shares his tools for communicating what you discover.


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Occasionally, I'm asked, how do you convince people that science and exploration is good and that we should all do it? I'm not here to convince you of anything. I'm not. What I will tell you is the consequences of not doing it. And then you decide. The real answer is I have no idea how it will benefit you. And it might not at all. But the history of this exercise shows that it probably will in profound ways that neither you nor I can project. One of the best examples of this is the discovery of quantum physics in the 1920s. Some of the smartest scientists in the world, brilliant physicists, are devoted to probing the behavior of matter on the smallest scales. And you might go up to them and say, why are you doing this? I can't even see atoms and they're most important thing in your life? Nothing could be more useless to me than what you're doing in the laboratory. This is a common attitude towards scientists on the frontier. But what happened with quantum physics? Oh, out of that we invented the digital computer. Oh, yeah, let's keep going. Oh, and the creation, storage, and retrieval of information requires the exploitation of quantum physics. There is no creation, storage, and retrieval of information without it. This is, by some measures, a third to a half of the world's economy depends on the creation, storage, and retrieval of digital information. And that's traceable to what scientists did in the 1920s. Started a little bit in the 1960s among scientists, technologists, engineers. 1970s, a little more. '80s, people started seeing computers show up, the personal computer, especially. Into the '90s, 2000s, we got the World Wide Web, the internet. You can't live without it. Don't be the person today saying what you might have said back in the 1920s, how does that relate to me? Nobody knows. But that's why we have the methods and tools of science. That's why we have the scientific method. That's the value of what it is to be scientifically literate. [MUSIC PLAYING] Objective truths, they apply everywhere and at all times on Earth as it is in the heavens. It is the kind of truth we seek in science. The interesting thing about an objective truth is that it's true no matter what. No matter who you are, what you believe in, where you live, how old you are, an objective truth transcends it all. Just to be clear, objective truths have very high value in decisions that anyone of us wants to make regarding our own lives, our family, our loved ones. Or if you rise to political power, to society at large. But I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that an objective truth is some target of every aspect of what it is to be alive and human. No. There are entire branches of what it is to be human that are the expressions of creative energy that have nothing to do with the search for objective truths. One of my favorite paintings in the entire portfolio of the world's art is van Go...

About the Instructor

With a hit talk show and bestselling books, Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the most popular figures in modern science. Now the influential astrophysicist teaches you how his mind works and how he connects with audiences. Learn to think like a skeptic, open your own mind through scientific literacy, distill data, and navigate bias to discover objective truths—and deliver your ideas in ways that engage, excite, and inspire.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

By far, one of the best online classes I have ever taken. Very grateful for someone like Neil De Grasse Tyson to be amongst us, and sharing his wisdom all over the world.

I was impressed with the eloquently and simple way Mr. Tyson explained the way we humans think and make assumptions.

Very handy tips on communicating effectively (especially as a scientist who addresses professionals/ executives). Extremely inspiring on pursuing the objective truth (especially when dealing with human data)

Excellent class! I was searching insightful guidance on how to communicate effectively and this class showed me an incredible path. Thanks!


A fellow student

He leaves out 2 very important aspects of truth; First we all look for and find "truths" that are true for us. Second any truth must be workable in the frame work of the past "truths" we found. Workability in life is based one ting, does it help us survive. The problem of that is how each of us defines survival; The Zulu warrior and the Harvard MBA have very different definitions as does the Islamic Zealot and the Quaker. Any Scientist is only such in the study of a subject but an artist in its application. He seems to know the methods of communication better than he knows his subject. He very definitely knows how to communicate and does a wonderful job of selling himself.

Ruth H.

This is like a moment to sit with the master and learn from him all the secrets he has kept hidden away until now. I am the padawan and Master Degrasse Tyson is the perfect teacher.

A fellow student

This is an amazing and useful class! Professor Neil's humor drove me to watch all of his lessons in one sitting. I didn't like science at all because I felt it to be hard to understand. However, Professor Neil explained science things in a simple way to understand which made me start to like science now.


This lesson is more than what I had hoped and expected it would be. There is no doubt I will practice and apply what I have learned. Highly recommend! Thank you!

Gerard R.

This is the most entertaining set of lectures that I have heard on a scientific topic, perhaps on all topics. The man is a brilliant communicator. The enjoyment I derived from listening to him is similar to that which I would get from listening to a world class opera singer deliver one of my favorite arias to perfection.

Dorothy R.

I am so glad my daughter asked me to do the Master Class series with her during the pandemic while living on separate sides of the U.S. I have always enjoyed Mr. deGrasse Tyson's articulate manner of teaching. This course was a perfect way to start our exploration "together".

Cyndi Y.

I enjoyed it but it was a little high level and sciency. Need to take it again...

A fellow student

I loved everyone of these lessons. Dr. Tyson has an interesting way of explaining very complex concepts/information. Each lessons provoked my curiosity. I was on the edge of my seat, because I was anticipating how he would explain whatever he was talking about. I totally agree that our learning is not about learning per se, but about our ability to think. With thinking you are inclined to ask better questions, the right questions, and more questions.

Carol R.

The future of our world depends upon how flexible our egos are. The more we understand where our opinions gathered information that effects our opinions, the more we will be compassionate and open to all possibilities. Instead of allowing our conclusions to cage us our conclusions could set us free.

A fellow student

Thank you, Dr. Tyson, I am obtaining a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and I purchased Master Class for the sole purpose of taking this course. As I am approaching the end of my formal education years, I have been tasked with presenting and communicating my work effectively. The topic of knowing your audience appears to be a topic that is not covered in general or advanced engineering course work, and my time spent taking this course has not been in vain. Thank you again, Dr. Tyson, for your insights on communication. I will most certainly be using all that you have shared in my next meeting, as well as my Ph.D. defense. All the best, Cameron G.