Neil deGrasse Tyson Teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication in a New Online Course

One does­n’t nor­mal­ly get into astro­physics for the fame. But some­times one gets famous any­way, as has astro­physi­cist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Direc­tor of the Hay­den Plan­e­tar­i­um at the Rose Cen­ter for Earth and Space. But that title does­n’t even hint at the scope of his pub­lic-fac­ing ven­tures, from the columns he’s writ­ten in mag­a­zines like Nat­ur­al His­to­ry and Star­Date to his host­ing of tele­vi­sion shows like NOVA and the sequel to Carl Sagan’s Cos­mos to his pod­cast StarTalk and his high-pro­file social media pres­ence. Has any oth­er fig­ure in the annals of sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tion been as pro­lif­ic, as out­spo­ken, and as will­ing to talk to any­one and do any­thing?

Here on Open Cul­ture, we’ve fea­tured Tyson rec­om­mend­ing booksgiv­ing a brief his­to­ry of every­thingdeliv­er­ing “the great­est sci­ence ser­mon ever,” chat­ting about NASA’s fly­by of Plu­to with Stephen Col­bert, “per­form­ing” in a Sym­pho­ny of Sci­ence video, invent­ing a physics-based wrestling move in high schoollook­ing hip in grad schooldefend­ing sci­ence in 272 wordsbreak­ing down the genius of Isaac New­tontalk­ing non-New­ton­ian solids with a nine-year-olddis­cussing the his­to­ry of video gamescre­at­ing a video game with Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Mar­tinselect­ing the most astound­ing fact about the uni­verseexplain­ing the impor­tance of arts edu­ca­tion along­side David Byrnepon­der­ing whether the uni­verse has a pur­posedebat­ing whether or not we live in a sim­u­la­tionremem­ber­ing when first he met Carl Saganinter­view­ing Stephen Hawk­ing just days before the lat­ter’s death, and of course, moon­walk­ing.

Now comes Tyson’s lat­est media ven­ture: a course from Mas­ter­class, the online edu­ca­tion com­pa­ny that spe­cial­izes in bring­ing big names from var­i­ous fields in front of the cam­era and get­ting them to tell us what they know. (Oth­er teach­ers include Mal­colm Glad­well, Steve Mar­tin, and Wern­er Her­zog.) “Neil DeGrasse Tyson Teach­es Sci­en­tif­ic Think­ing and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” whose trail­er you can watch above, gets into sub­jects like the sci­en­tif­ic method, the nature of skep­ti­cism, cog­ni­tive and cul­tur­al bias, com­mu­ni­ca­tion tac­tics, and the inspi­ra­tion of curios­i­ty. “There’s, like, a gazil­lion hours of me on the inter­net,” admits Tyson, and though none of those may cost $90 USD (or $180 for an all-access pass to all of Mas­ter­class’ offer­ings), in none of them has he tak­en on quite the goal he does in his Mas­ter­class: to teach how to “not only find objec­tive truth, but then com­mu­ni­cate to oth­ers how to get there. It’s not good enough to be right. You also have to be effec­tive.” You can sign up Tyson’s course here.

If you sign up for a Mas­ter­Class course by click­ing on the affil­i­ate links in this post, Open Cul­ture will receive a small fee that helps sup­port our oper­a­tion.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mas­ter­class Is Run­ning a “Buy One, Give One Free” Deal

Neil deGrasse Tyson Lists 8 (Free) Books Every Intel­li­gent Per­son Should Read

Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents a Brief His­to­ry of Every­thing in an 8.5 Minute Ani­ma­tion

An Ani­mat­ed Neil deGrasse Tyson Gives an Elo­quent Defense of Sci­ence in 272 Words, the Same Length as The Get­tys­burg Address

Neil deGrasse Tyson Says This Short Film on Sci­ence in Amer­i­ca Con­tains Per­haps the Most Impor­tant Words He’s Ever Spo­ken

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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