I was fortunate enough to have been young when Carl Sagan was hosting the original Cosmos. Simply put, I was and remain a fan of a wonderful educational tool. So I was very excited when I learned that Neil deGrasse Tyson was hosting a new Cosmos for a new generation. I recorded each of the episodes of the first season, anticipating watching them with my children. And then . . . nothing. Neither daughter had any interest until very recently.
One of my younger daughters friends began coming to school tired – complaining that she was not getting enough sleep because she couldn’t stop watching Cosmos. From that seed, a plant has sprouted! When my wife, my daughter, and I sat down after dinner tonight to watch a little television, that daughter suggested that we watch Cosmos. Shortly after it began, I heard this:
Wife: “Wait – what did he just say?”Daughter: “When you look at the moon, what you see is the light that left the moon a second ago – so you are looking back in time. When you look at the sun, you are looking back in time 8 seconds.”Wife: “That blows my mind – I better put down my reading and pay attention.”Daughter: “I know, right? It’s the best show ever!”
A couple of new fans are born. I’m looking forward to next weekend, when perhaps we will see a few more episodes together.
I’m very impressed with this new version of Cosmos – the beauty of the original was its ability to blend real science with entertainment. The new version has accurately captured that attribute, which is very difficult to do. The show has succeeded in making a show about science with so many levels that everyone – from young kids to adults, no science background to advanced degrees – can enjoy the program. And Tyson, like Sagan, puts a very approachable human face on science.
He has “Star Stuff” of his own.