Elliot Severn's photo of the StarTalk Live! crew backstage at the Apollo. Left to right: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Phoebe Robinson, Maeve Higgins, Eugene Mirman, Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, Senator Cory Booker.
Elliot Severn's photo of the StarTalk Live! crew backstage at the Apollo. Left to right: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Phoebe Robinson, Maeve Higgins, Eugene Mirman, Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, Senator Cory Booker.

StarTalk Live! at the Apollo (Part 1)

Backstage at the Apollo before the show. Left to right: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Phoebe Robinson, Maeve Higgins, Eugene Mirman, Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, Senator Cory Booker. Credit - Elliot Severn.

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About This Episode

It’s not your typical night at the Apollo when Neil deGrasse Tyson and Eugene Mirman welcome Senator Cory Booker, science evangelist Dr. Ainissa Ramirez and comedians Maeve Higgins and Phoebe Robinson to the historic theater in Harlem, NYC. It’s not your typical StarTalk Live! either. Instead of focusing on a single topic, the entire show orbits the Senator’s life in three subjects: social media, the physics of football (he was named to the same All-USA H.S. Football Team as Emmitt Smith), and STEM education. Dr. Ramirez is an expert in all three, having taught mechanical engineering at Yale and co-written Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game. You’ll hear Neil get schooled about Deflategate, what causes concussions, the “weaponizing” of football helmets, and how to fix the NCAA. You’ll also learn how there used to be more women than men in STEM classes, why educating prisoners in STEM fields can reduce recidivism, the dangers of the “prison industrial complex” and the disproportionate jailing of people of color for non-violent crimes.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: StarTalk Live! at the Apollo (Part 1).

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  • Timothy

    I love it !

  • Vidar Blähä

    Christ, politicians are boring as hell.
    You can’t really talk science and Stem if you’re religious, this guy can’t just say that on one hand science is above politics (of course it is!), but then say that “except for my religion”. The reason is that politics has to do with society, with people, with what people are, why they are the way they are, and so on. That requires an understanding of science, psychology, of biology even (at the very least)! Religion in it’s very basis contradicts some of the most fundamental scientific facts in all of these fields, all of which are required to understand human diversity in any society or just human beings plain and simple!

    So a politician, because of their profession, is absolutely someone who can’t say that they on one hand they want to run society and on the other hand say they want to believe in religion which negates crucial points to the understanding OF that society! That’s just irresponsible, selfish and most of all factually wrong! Doesn’t matter how much of a “nice guy” you are, that’s just wrong, dead wrong.

    • Zoidberg

      what if a person’s faith posits a god that accommodates the scientific view of the world? Not everyone takes the Bible/Quran or whatever literally. People have different faiths. If you automatically consider anyone with religious faith as being in disagreement with science then you are being as close minded as any bible thumper.

      There are plenty of scientists who do their science just fine while keeping religious faith at a personal level.

      • Patrick Francis

        I have to agree with Zoidberg. As long as they do not use their religion to make public policies, and use science and reality to influence their decision instead. I don’t care what they believe.

        I mean, I would rather have a person believing in flying unicorns that make rainbows to keep children happy. Than to have a person that believes their religion needs to be law.

  • Zoidberg

    there is a big booklet that twitter gives to politicians to how to make the most of it.

  • Patrick Francis

    I’ve been trying to look up “more women than men in stem fields in 1890s”. I wish the guests had to give Citations for their statistics, because I cannot find it anywhere. Could it possibly be because EVERYONE took the same classes in the 1890s? And there were more women in school than men because the men were out working on farms and doing manual labor? Just a guess.

    Women have the same exact opportunity as men to go into stem fields. But most choose not to. They have other goals in life.
    The only way we will have 50% men, and 50% women, is if we FORCE women to go into stem fields. Anyone here want to force women (against their will) to go into Stem Fields? I hope no.

    Someone also mentioned that Blacks are only 10% of Stem Fields. But earlier stated they are 14% of the population. They are also, on average, in poorer communities, meaning many of them may not go to college. So 10% is about where it should be. I would expect 17% to be Hispanic/Latino as well, since they are 17% of the population. ~Tired of people purposely misleading people to serve their agenda~

    • Hi Patrick. According to Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, our guest who brought up the statistic, the data comes from the book is “What Happened to our High Schools” by John Latimer, which is based on census data. Here’s the link for the book:
      http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Happened-Our-High-Schools/dp/1258264722
      This is also discussed in the book “The Science Education of American Girls”:
      http://www.amazon.com/Science-Education-American-Girls-Perspective/dp/0415934737/

      • Patrick Francis

        Thanks! I always like to fact-check things I hear. There is a lot of bad information out there and I don’t like being ignorant. I’ll be looking at the books and the census data they used.

        Thanks again!

    • Hi Patrick. According to Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, our guest who brought up the statistic, the data comes from the book is “What Happened to our High Schools” by John Latimer, which is based on census data. Here’s the link for the book:
      http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Happened-Our-High-Schools/dp/1258264722
      This is also discussed in the book “The Science Education of American Girls”:
      http://www.amazon.com/Science-Education-American-Girls-Perspective/dp/0415934737/

      • Patrick Francis

        Thanks! I always like to fact-check things I hear. There is a lot of bad information out there and I don’t like being ignorant. I’ll be looking at the books and the census data they used.

        Thanks again!

    • Geek0id

      No, women do not have the same opportunity as men do in STEM. They are routinely cut off and pointed in another direction through their education.

      I have fought with many teachers and some school when they tried to do that to my daughter, and other girls.

      ~TIred of people not thinking about anything that is against their personal narrative~

      • Patrick Francis

        Can you explain what you mean by “cut off and pointed in another direction”?

        Did they cancel your daughter’s classes and put her into other non-STEM classes?
        I can’t see how a teacher or counselor could do anything other than make suggestions.

        I’d like to hear more details so I could look up studies, or see if other reports show they are having the same issue.
        Also, just to let you know, Women with the same qualifications in STEM Fields are hired 2 to 1 over males when applying to jobs. Because everyone wants women in this field. So it would be interesting to find out that Schools discourage women from going into STEM fields, but the actual businesses that offer jobs want the women.

        Here is a Citation:
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/04/14/study-finds-surprisingly-that-women-are-favored-for-jobs-in-stem/

    • Geek0id

      No, women do not have the same opportunity as men do in STEM. They are routinely cut off and pointed in another direction through their education.

      I have fought with many teachers and some school when they tried to do that to my daughter, and other girls.

      ~TIred of people not thinking about anything that is against their personal narrative~

      • Patrick Francis

        Can you explain what you mean by “cut off and pointed in another direction”?

        Did they cancel your daughter’s classes and put her into other non-STEM classes?
        I can’t see how a teacher or counselor could do anything other than make suggestions.

        I’d like to hear more details so I could look up studies, or see if other reports show they are having the same issue.
        Also, just to let you know, Some studies have shown Women with the same qualifications in STEM Fields are hired 2 to 1 over males when applying to jobs. Because everyone wants women in this field. So it would be interesting to find out that Schools discourage women from going into STEM fields, but the actual businesses that offer jobs want the women.

        Here is a Citation:
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/04/14/study-finds-surprisingly-that-women-are-favored-for-jobs-in-stem/

  • Emily Menzel

    Cory Booker for president. I would vote for this guy.

  • lssplack

    What’s up with all of the fake applause?

    • Fake applause? The show was recorded live at the Apollo Theater and the applause is all real.

      • It think it’s the way it’s edited, there’s a few points where the applause cuts off very abruptly.. probably to get more factual talking in the show and less audience reaction 🙂

        • Thanks, Tom. That likely explains the comment. Yes, we do sometimes edit non-essential parts of the show like extended applause, or segment breaks where Neil talks directly to the audience about the breaks), usually to squeeze in more of the actual on-stage conversations.

    • Fake applause? The show was recorded live at the Apollo Theater and the applause is all real.

  • Data

    I love your show and what you do to spread the gospel of science.
    However, I must say I am hugely disappointed by your segment on deflategate in this episode.
    Discussing science based on false data completely ruins any conclusions that is made.
    Your guest Dr. Ramirez discusses how the the temperature alone cannot cover for the 2 psi.
    Please read the wells report, the 2 psi has always been a false number floated out there and most scientific minded have drawn their conclusion based on that. The average pressure drop (as captured in the Well’s report) in the 11 Patriots footballs was 1.1 psi or 1.4 psi as measured by two separate gauges at halftime. It was 1.1 psi if you believe the referee’s best recollection on which gauge he used before the game. With the correct data, does mother nature account for all of the pressure drop? Temperature alone accounts for most if not all of it. Let us also remember it was raining and rain can be colder than the measured air temperature. There is also evaporative cooling as well as the expansion of wet leather that could cause additional drop in pressure. Using correct data, it is fairly obvious mother nature did deflate those footballs. Please do your science based on correct data and not the “2 psi” myth that has been out there. Perhaps the senator can comment on the integrity of the investigation when the NFL floats false data to the media.

  • Alexandre Philbert

    Skipping through the audio to specific points takes forever… but great podcast as always 🙂

  • Alexandre Philbert

    Skipping through the audio to specific points takes forever… but great podcast as always 🙂

  • Cory Booker is doing a fantastic Kermit the Frog impression

  • ramai

    Booker, as a man of faith, who asks for evidence, is very refreshing. Let’s get more like him, he makes me hopeful.

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