Business, Science & Tech

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.

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Topics include: Objective Truths · Passing the Torch


[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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Neil deGrasse Tyson

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

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