Brandon Royal’s Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Darren Aronofsky.
Brandon Royal’s Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Darren Aronofsky.

Science and Psyche in Film, with Darren Aronofsky

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Darren Aronofsky. Photo Credit: Brandon Royal.
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Brandon Royal’s Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Darren Aronofsky.

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About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson explores the science and psyche of filmmaking with auteur filmmaker Darren Aronofsky. Aronofsky is known for making films that are often surreal, melodramatic, and psychologically thrilling including Black Swan, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Mother!, Noah, and Requiem for a Dream. Neil is joined in-studio by comic co-host Paula Poundstone and astrophysicist and StarTalk geek-in-chief Charles Liu, PhD. 

You’ll find out about Darren’s early exposure to the wonders of mathematics, including some of the theories and ideas on the fringes of the subject. Explore his interest in the Fibonacci sequence. Our panel investigates how people can sometimes over-manipulate numbers to find meaning that isn’t there. Learn more about “cosmic geometry.” Charles explains why mathematics goes beyond just numbers. 

You’ll hear how Darren became interested in filmmaking. Discover more about the importance of storytelling in the human experience. Darren explains why the process of getting an audience into a film must be a step-by-step process. Charles tells us why using stories to explain science concepts is a better way to have students engage in the material instead of just sharing the information. 

Neuroscientist Heather Berlin, PhD, drops in to help us explore the psychological seduction of film. Find out if technology will ever allow us to see inside someone else’s mind…or if it already has. We ponder death and whether Western culture should treat death differently. We also ask, “If science could prevent death, should it?” 

You’ll hear about Darren’s series One Strange Rock that encompasses the beauty and fragility of Earth. We answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about our Moon and Jupiter’s moons, and Darren even asks Neil his own question about the Moon. Neil and Charles geek out over the weight of Thor’s hammer, how much water would have rained down during Noah’s flood, and the size of Icarus’s wings. All that, plus, Bill Nye sends in a dispatch to celebrate the art of motion pictures. 

Thanks to this week’s Patrons for supporting us:

Sebastian Seilund, Ian Schulze, Heidi Lynne Makela, Calvin Mitchell, Sinai Coons.

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

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