Kaku vs. Tyson – Who can bring the science? Who can BE the Sagan? And, do we really have to pick a team?
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To celebrate the reboot of Carl Sagan’s seminal ‘Cosmos,’ we now present a repost from May 8, 2012. This classic is one of the most popular Anthrobotic.com posts of all time – and I’m allowed to call it a classic because I’m the only only one with admin access around here. It’s also one of the few Anthrobotic posts to include a ham-handed, homemade infographic.
The question then at hand has finally been answered, and so congratulations to Dr. Tyson. Learn more about the new show, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, by clicking on those words that were right before these words right here.
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A Showdown to Fill Big Shoes
In 1996, after he gave so much of his life to us, we lost one of the most excellent humans who ever lived – Dr. Carl Sagan. Without him, the Western world has longed for a go-to science ambassador and suffered the lack of a charismatic, broadly appealing leader, communicator, and popularizer.
Try as they might, with commendable and hopefully continuing effort, Stephen Hawking, Ray Kurzweil, Brian Greene, and Bill Nye just don’t have the juice to truly inspire those who aren’t, well, fairly dorky to begin with.
But Now, Contenders Have Emerged!
Among many accomplished and respectable practitioners and promoters of science and scientific thought, the field has narrowed, and it is now clear that there are but two:
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Theoretical Physicist Michio Kaku.
And so, who will it be? Who can inspire the young, educate the public, and be a science rockstar with hoards of gangly and socially awkward groupies?
Who can BE the Sagan?
To honor both candidates, here’s a highly scientific checklist:
Yeah, it’s a Draw. A Tie.
While wildly opinionated side-taking (the correct side, obviously) and derisive delineation between what/who is right and what/who is dumb is pretty much all that goes on here at Anthrobotic, this time it needs to be reigned in a bit.Because really, both of these guys have excellent qualities and qualifications and their own respectable areas of focus and means of delivery; even if they are somewhat in love with themselves (you have to be to go on TV, right?), they’re still both modern heroes.
Bringing the Science
To be a Sagan-like force, a serious scientist needs credibility among peers, a gregarious and approachable nature, openness to the media, and perhaps most importantly, they must be able to effectively explain vastly complex ideas to a 4 year-old. Because 4 year-olds need to be inspired toward science, and also because so many Americans only think and/or read at that level. Being handsome doesn’t hurt, either. And hey – we’ve got two who can play that game – why not double down!
But Should There be Only One?
Do We Need More Infographics to Straighten it Out?
No. And please no. Now, as much as there is to love about Sagan, there was only one of him, and that means limited time and limited influence and limited perspective. While I’d love to get tickets to Drs. Tyson and Kaku having some dorktastic geeky throwdown to see who brings the baddest science to the yard, why not just make them co-captains?!
But This was Supposed to be a Fight!
We don’t have to pick a team here. Sure, this could have been a one-sentence post:
“Neil deGrasse Tyson and Michio Kaku, both badass science guys. Props. The end.”
Which would entertain me, but today I’ve boldy amputated my jaded, smart-ass perspective on human technology, and with conviction and sincerity, congratulate both Dr. Tyson and Dr. Kaku on their efforts to promote science education and awareness. Here’s to their continued success, and here’s to the possibility of them joining together and activating their powers as fabulously bizarre interracial Wonder Twins.
Oh, and here’s to putting anti-science hippies and religious fanatics into shipping containers and firing them at the sun with a giant railgun.
And more hott chicks in science too, please.