Famous astrophysicist to give free lecture at Purdue - Purdue Exponent: Features

Famous astrophysicist to give free lecture at Purdue

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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:00 am | Updated: 11:49 am, Fri Sep 20, 2013.

Bill Nye the Science Guy made science fun and accessible for a generation of young students in the ‘90s.

If anyone would be considered his successor, it would be Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, who recently tweeted “Had @MileyCyrus’s MTV butt-shaking appeared on Broadcast TV, the images would now be entering the Sun’s Oort Cloud of Comets.”

Tyson will be giving his lecture “This Just In: Latest Discoveries in the Universe” at 7 p.m. tonight in Elliott Hall of Music. The lecture is free and open to the public.

John Finley, a professor of physics, said that like Nye, Tyson is important to the scientific field not only for his contributions but also his ability to speak to the common person.

“You want people to know (about science) because when they read stories in the paper that have some kind of science angle, they’ll understand it better,” Finley said. “So they can make decisions about voting for somebody in a particular election based on some scientific issue, for example.”

Tyson grew to fame by hosting “NOVA ScienceNow” on PBS and appearing on the TV shows “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “Jeopardy!”. It was also announced that Tyson would host a remake of “Cosmos,” an ‘80s TV show that explored the universe with then-host Carl Sagan.

“(Cosmos) spent time learning – exploring – how to make science matter to you, as a human being, as a citizen, as a species with the capacity to reflect on its own existence. And those kind of messages are timeless,” Tyson told reporters following a screening of the documentary at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Finley suspects that some of the “latest discoveries” Tyson will address will include Earth-like planets.

The lecture is part of Purdue Libraries Distinguished Lecture Series, though Discovery Park and a variety of departments also helped sponsor the event.

Jim Mullins, dean of libraries, said scheduling Tyson has been long in the making.

“It actually took us two years to get his schedule to coincide with an opening here on campus,” he said.

Abby Eddy, director of marketing for Purdue Convocations, said it will most likely be a full house tonight. The lecture will not be live streamed elsewhere but “archival video of the lecture will be available for viewing through Purdue Libraries.”

Lines will begin forming at 3 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m. in a designated area outside of Elliott. This is a general admission event and there is no assigned seating.

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