September 20, 2018 9:27 pm

Friday, Discover the Keys to Effective Science Communication with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Alan Alda

Acting and communicating science aren’t that different, just ask Alan Alda. And if you have no way of communicating with Alan Alda yourself, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. On this week’s episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with legendary star of M*A*S*H and countless movies, award-winning science communicator Alan Alda, as they explore the keys to successful science communication.

Photo of Alan Alda and Neil deGrasse Tyson at the 92nd St. Y in NYC. Credit: © 2018 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association.

Alan Alda and Neil deGrasse Tyson at the 92nd St. Y in NYC. Credit: © 2018 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association.

In-studio, Neil is joined by comic co-host Matt Kirshen and neuroscientist Heather Berlin to discuss the science behind explaining science to the general public. Neil and Alan start by exploring Alan’s path to becoming a science communicator, beginning with experiments as a child involving toothpaste, face powder, and watch faces. Find out how Alan transformed his interest in pseudoscience into real science. You’ll also hear neuroscientist and science communicator Heather Berlin explain the impact M*A*S*H had on letting people see a different side of the medical world.

We explore Alan’s time as host of Scientific American Frontiers. He explains why ignorance and curiosity served as his best assets when trying to understand a new branch of the science world. He also explains why getting scientists to talk conversationally with him was the key to putting the science in terms the world could understand.

Primatologist and StarTalk All-Stars host Natalia Reagan stops by to help us look at the art of improve, and Heather tells us what’s going on in the brain during that creative state. Heather also shares why she was interested in becoming a neuroscientist and how her original interests have evolved over time.

We also explore a concept that Alan calls “dark empathy”. Alan tells us the truth behind what it means to actually listen to someone, and we check in with Bill Nye the Science Guy so he can humble us with the smallness of us and the vastness of the universe.

Please join us tomorrow night for Communicating the Science, with Alan Alda at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen