Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Maeve Higgins and Sir Martin Rees in Neil’s office at the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. Credit: StarTalk Radio.
Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Maeve Higgins and Sir Martin Rees in Neil’s office at the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. Credit: StarTalk Radio.

The Future of Us, with Sir Martin Rees

Shown: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Maeve Higgins and Sir Martin Rees in Neil’s office at the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. Credit: StarTalk Radio.

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About This Episode

What does the future hold for humanity? What will be at stake? Are we on a path of destruction or enlightenment? On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson investigates what the future might bring with comic co-host Maeve Higgins and Sir Martin Rees, astrophysicist, cosmologist, Astronomer Royal of the United Kingdom since 1995, and both the former Master of Trinity College at Cambridge and former President of the Royal Society (a position held by Sir Isaac Newton himself), and author of On The Future: Prospects for Humanity. 

To start, you’ll hear how Neil and Martin’s friendship blossomed many years ago as we dive into Martin’s history as one of the world’s most prominent astrophysicists. Find out why people should listen to astrophysicists, not futurists, when trying to predict the future. Ponder what we may be able to predict with some certainty by 2050. Learn why we should keep our minds open to science fiction. Discover how science fiction can be used to make sure a dystopic future doesn’t happen. Martin tells us his fears about the misuse of bio- and cyber-tech and how each could undermine governments – and already have begun to influence the world. 

Next, we dive into fan-submitted Cosmic Queries. We discuss whether or not a globally unified science organization is in our future, and how science functions as a global culture already. You’ll hear if scientists are ever competitive and secretive with information. We debate how future generations will react to the current generations’ handling of the climate crisis, and whether certain climate disasters have to occur in order for people to understand the seriousness of climate change. You’ll find out if space travel will be accessible for everyone in the future. Learn why it’s dangerous to think human problems can be solved by Martian colonization. Explore the future of space travel: will it be a private or public venture? Will NASA become a spaceport service for private vessels? Will NASA become obsolete? Who will be the first people on Mars? How important is science literacy for moving us into the future? What might be the next “big thing” in science – could it be dark energy? You’ll learn more about the Large Hadron Collider and if some of the science being created at CERN can protect us from solar radiation when traveling through space. Martin tells us about witnessing the discovery of a pulsar firsthand. Finally, we question whether the Golden Record was a good idea, and whether interdimensional travel more plausible than faster than light travel. All that, plus, Sir Martin gives us his thoughts on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re headed. 

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: The Future of Us, with Sir Martin Rees.

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