StarTalk’s Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Edward Norton.
StarTalk’s Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Edward Norton.

A Conversation with Edward Norton

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Edward Norton. Credit: StarTalk.
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StarTalk’s Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Edward Norton.

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About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, we add another iconic American actor to the list of StarTalk guests – Edward Norton. Edward is known for his roles in Fight Club, Birdman, American History X, and the new film Motherless Brooklyn, which he also wrote, directed, and produced. But, did you know that Edward has a deep connection to the universe?

You’ll learn about Edward’s early education and how his interest in the universe began. He tells us about Carl Sagan’s impact on his intellectual interests growing up. Did you know Edward was originally set to major in astronomy at Yale? Find out why he changed fields of study and how his interest in the Cosmos has stuck with him ever since. You’ll also learn about his connection to the Hayden Planetarium. 

We take a deep dive into his new film Motherless Brooklyn, a story that follows “Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton), a lonely private detective living with Tourette Syndrome, [who] ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis).” Edward talks about adapting a beloved modern-day novel into a historical film noir. Discover more about his original interest in the book, his research into Tourette Syndrome, and why New York City is at the core of the film. You’ll also investigate what Edward learned about his own brain during the research process.

Then, we dive into Edward’s other interests, and there are many. You’ll find out more about his data company, EDO, Inc., which uses machine learning applications for media data. Edwards tells us about his time spent working on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities that studied the importance of arts programs in overall education. And, we discuss Edwards role as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador where he promotes biodiversity all over the world. All that, plus Edward gets to ask Neil questions about the universe, including worm holes and black holes, bio-signatures on exoplanets, and putting telescopes on the dark side of the Moon.

Thanks to this week’s Patrons for supporting us:

Ray Sousa, Kiki Stirling, Paul Schroeder, John Gallagher, Ástþór Sigurvinsson

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

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