George Takei and the Legacy of Star Trek

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About This Episode

For a show that only ran 3 seasons before being cancelled, the impact Star Trek had is unparalleled. In the podcast version of our StarTalk TV premiere episode, host Neil deGrasse Tyson delves into that legacy with George Takei, who played Lt. Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise. George shares Gene Rodenberry’s vision of the future, where strength lay in the diversity of its crew, at a time when America itself was grappling with issues of race, gender and the Cold War. You’ll learn about George’s own experiences growing up in an internment camp in the swamps of Arkansas during WWII. In studio, Neil discusses the science and technology of Star Trek with co-host Leighann Lord and astrophysicist Charles Liu, from warp drive, to communicators, to transporters, to the possibility of silicon-based life (the Horta!) and what it would take to create a real Starship Enterprise right now. Bill Nye stops by to talk about how StarTrek inspired the future. Plus, you’ll get to hear Neil, Leighann and Charles recite the introduction to the series, “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise…”

CLARIFICATION: In this episode, it was inaccurately stated that German Americans and Italian Americans were not interned by the US government during WWII. The point being made in the episode was that Japanese Americans were treated very differently than others. To wit, approximately 110,00-120,000 Japanese were interned in the continental US out of a population of approximately 127,000. For comparison, a little over 11,500 Germans were interned out of over 6 million Americans with at least one parent born in Germany. As to Italian Americans, the number interned has been reported variously between 418 and 3000, out of over 1.5 million here in the US.

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