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Steven Colbert and Neil deGrassi Tyson

This is an outstanding interview by Steven Colbert of astrophysicist Neil deGrassi Tyson that took place in early 2010. Steven Colbert is witty, funny, and intelligent. He also asks very important and challenging questions about the nature of science, physics, knowledge and how it relates to human beings at this time. Neil deGrassi Tyson is apt with metaphor, anecdote, and the framework of science.

There is a lot to like in this 90 minute video. For me, I appreciated this particular piece. Colbert asks deGrassi Tyson, “What is beautiful about science?” deGrassi Tyson gives an example for him, “Energy = mass x speed of light squared (can’t find a way to superscript for the moment).” “Why is that beautiful to you?” asks Colbert. “It is simple yet accounts for hugely complex things.”

This is a great description of the hunger I tend to feel for simplicity in the patterns of organizing human beings. An example of that simplicity is in the principles for healthy and resilient community that I use often — these too account for hugely complex behaviors in systems.

deGrassi goes on to describe more of the beauty — “This beauty, will drive you to poetry.” Let us hope.

Thanks Meg Wheatley and Nicco Pesci for referring me to this one.

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