A fan asks, “How closely is the Higgs Boson related to gravity?” Watch as Neil deGrasse Tyson explains to co-host Leighann Lord why gravity is essentially irrelevant to particle physics, and why the electromagnetic force, which is 10^40 more powerful than gravity, is much more important. (You’ll also find out why there are no giant spiders.)
With all the news about deadly viruses grabbing headlines today, a fan wants to know if there are any good viruses. Guest Dr. Ian Lipkin, Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia, tells Neil deGrasse Tyson and Eugene Mirman about the cutting edge engineering of viruses as delivery vehicles to introduce genes to combat Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, as well as using viruses in nanotechnology.
What was the most important breakthrough in the history of electronics? Radio? Transistor? Fuel cells? The light bulb? Eventually Bill Nye settles on the ability to generate electricity itself, and schools Eugene Mirman and Astro Mike Massimino about the great Michael Faraday.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Bill Nye the Science Guy and Astro Mike Massimino get into an elevator with a Congressman… No, it’s not a joke, but it is the subject of a fan’s Cosmic Query. What do you think they would tell that legislator about why it’s so important to fund space exploration and NASA?
When a fan asks whether teleportation or travel at the speed of light is more likely to happen sooner, guest host Bill Nye the Science Guy points out the practical problems with both to co-host Eugene Mirman. After a careful consideration of the physics of light speed and the incredible amount of energy required for teleportation, Bill grudgingly chooses teleportation, but Astro Mike Massimino is holding out for FTL travel so we can get someplace worth going.
A fan wants to know the best way to ensure that NASA gets the funding it needs, and the answer doesn’t fit into a sound bite. In this thoughtful conversation, Bill Nye, the CEO of the Planetary Society, and former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino tell Eugene Mirman that the answer is less about stubborn legislators and science illiteracy, and more about increasing public awareness of the value we get from NASA and the space program, from international cooperation to the innovation and optimism that comes from the problem solving aspect of space exploration. That, and voting.
When a fan asks about private funding of planetary science research, guest host Bill Nye tells co-host Eugene Mirman and guest Astro Mike Massimino about the project to fund the Arkyd space telescope. Being created by Planetary Resources and intended for asteroid exploration, it’s the first privately funded, publicly accessible space telescope.
A fan wants to know what percentage of NASA’s budget goes to private sector contractors. Guest host Bill Nye and guest astronaut Mike Massimino can’t give an answer more specific than “enormous,” but they can tell co-host Eugene Mirman just who does what, and why there’s a role for both private contractors and NASA when it comes to the exploration – and exploitation – of space.