Composite image contains X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the ROSAT telescope (purple), infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (orange), and optical data from the SuperCosmos Sky Survey (blue) made by the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope.
Composite image contains X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the ROSAT telescope (purple), infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (orange), and optical data from the SuperCosmos Sky Survey (blue) made by the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope.

A Quantum Life with Hakeem Oluseyi

NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

How do you beat the odds and become an astrophysicist? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice sit down with astrophysicist Hakeem Oluseyi to discuss his path to becoming an astrophysicist and his new book A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey From The Streets to The Stars. 

To start things off, we find out why Hakeem decided to write a book in the first place. How did he go from a life of crime to the world of astrophysics and academia? We break down his two quantum states: being a nerd and being a gangster. Discover his journey through crime, the navy, college, being a janitor, and what ultimately led to him earning his PhD. 

Can you teach a subject just because you learned it? How do you approach talking to people who you regard as brilliant, but who never had the opportunity to pursue a higher education? Hear Hakeem’s daydream about four big bangs and how he transitioned from physics to astrophysics. Is astrophysics where the natural world meets weirdness? 

We discuss obsessive compulsive counting and other numerical habits. We also break down different models for how to look at the universe. How do you experience the wonder of the universe? Learn about Ibn al-Haytham, Islam, and the invention of the scientific method. Discover why Hakeem changed his name and how it’s connected to hierarchies within the US. All that, plus, find out what Hakeem’s new book has to do with Chadwick Boseman. 

Thanks to our Patrons EMILY RIVERA, Jocelyn Sailas, Nickalos Early, zach hughes, Shawn Shortridge, Ghokul S, Emily Long, Vijay Ramani, and Joe Means for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

About the prints that flank Neil in this video:
“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver.

 

In This Episode

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