StarTalk’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Olivia Munn.
StarTalk’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Olivia Munn.

Geekdom 101, with Olivia Munn

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Olivia Munn. Photo Credit: StarTalk.
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About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with actress Olivia Munn, known for her roles in The Predator, X-Men: Apocalypse, The Newsroom, and more, to discuss the role she’s been playing all her life: a geek. Joined in-studio by comic co-host Chuck Nice and astrophysicist and StarTalk geek-in-chief Charles Liu, PhD, Neil and the two Chucks are ready to explore Olivia’s geek cred and the geekiverse as a whole. 

What is a geek? What’s the difference between a geek and a nerd? Can you be a geek of just one thing? Like a theatre geek, a comic book geek, a sports geek? Olivia tells us why she thinks “geekdom” means freedom. We discuss why comic books are such a staple in geek culture. Charles also tells us why he thinks biohacking is the next great geek frontier. 

You’ll learn about Olivia’s upbringing and how her early struggles in algebra shaped her work ethic today. We explore her role as Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse. Find out what superpower Olivia would give herself if she could choose. You’ll hear why Neil’s superhero alter ego would be “Java Man.” We investigate the power of science to bring superpowers to the real world: the Iron Man suit, genetic mutation, immortality, and more. Discover more about the relationship between science and magic. We also grapple with the idea that “if everyone is special, no one is special.”

To finish off the episode, Olivia has a couple Cosmic Queries for Neil. We ponder the existence of aliens. Neil explains why he has no reason to doubt that we are not alone in the universe. We ask: wouldn’t it be calming to know we’re not alone? Or, would it be frightening? Then we ask – are we alone in our intelligence? Lastly, Olivia checks in with Neil to see if the planets can impact humans individually. All that, plus, Neil and Charles reveal how much humanity actually “knows” about the universe.

Thanks to our Patrons Genesis Perez, Braden Thomas, Joe Aguirre, Ayush Kapri, and Aden Parker for supporting us this week.

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

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