Learn science from the stars

Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts the TV series Star Talk.
Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts the TV series Star Talk. Contributed

SCIENCE and pop culture collide in Neil deGrasse Tyson's hit show Star Talk.

The world-renowned astrophysicist returns in a second season to continue his mission to bring the latest discoveries about the universe to the masses framed within popular media like film, music and TV.

"At no time do we dumb anything down," Tyson tells APN.

"You learn there is a science behind the music you just heard. Science is not the centrepiece; it's an ornament on this tree we carry to this show."

This year's subjects include space travel, extra-terrestrial life, the Big Bang and the future of the environment explored with special guests including Bill Clinton, Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane and TV presenter and physicist Brian Cox.

"The show is really driven by the interest of the guests," Tyson says.

Star Talk host Neil deGrasse Tyson pictured with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.
Star Talk host Neil deGrasse Tyson pictured with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Katy Andres

"Take President Clinton, we talked to him about his life and in there you learn how much of a geek he actually is. The human genome was mapped under his watch; the internet came of age under his watch. We talk about these advances in science and technology and what he thinks about them."

Tyson sees his weekly guests as a portal to viewers he would otherwise never engage with in a traditional documentary format.

"If we based it on just science then it would be a talk show on science," he says.

"How about the people who know they don't like science? We found if you bring in a celebrity, then they have followings and their followers listen to them talk about science in a conversation that would otherwise never happen."

The first episode of season two examines a headline-grabbing project - the privately funded Mars One mission to establish a human settlement on the red planet.

"I was originally quite sceptical, but I didn't want to speak out against the project until I spoke to him (co-founder Bas Lansdorp)," Tyson says.

"What intrigued me most is he had thousands of people who signed up to do this... it's odd people would want to go on a one-way trip to a place that's not Earth. I'm just happy somebody's thinking this way... when you're the first out of the box at anything you have risks other people don't."

Star Talk season two premieres on the National Geographic Channel tomorrow at 9.30pm Qld, 10.30pm NSW.

Topics:  bill clinton national geographic channel seth macfarlane

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