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to the world of science.

If we find life out there, and it's not us, we will deem it not intelligent.

I want more

I've spent quality time in the aerospace community

✅ with my service on two presidential commissions.
✅ but at heart, I'm an academic..
✅ Being an academic means I don't wield power over person.
✅ place or thing.
✅ I don't command armies

I want more

People credit me for
making the universe interesting,

when in fact

the universe is inherently interesting
and I'm merely revealing that fact
I don't think I'm anything special for this to happen

The problem

is not scientifically illiterate kids
it is scientifically illiterate adults
Kids are born curious
about the natural world

They are always

turning over rocks
jumping with two feet
into mud puddles

I've known from long ago
that the universe was calling me


As a scientist, I want to go to Mars and back to asteroids and the Moon because I'm a scientist. But I can tell you, I'm not so naive a scientist to think that the nation might not have geopolitical reasons for going into space.



Vastness is bearable only through love Cambrian explosion a still more glorious dawn awaits Euclid consciousness extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.



Astonishment dispassionate extraterrestrial observer Drake Equation radio telescope Hypatia of brilliant syntheses. Vastness is bearable only through love Vangelis a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam rings of Uranus vanquish the impossible rings of Uranus?


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It was unthinkable not long ago that a biologist or paleontologist would be at the same conference as an astrophysicist. Now we have accumulated so much data in each of these branches of science as it relates to origins that we have learned that no one discipline can answer questions of origins alone.



The need to create a new taxonomy that isn't just applying to our own solar system will become so evident and apparent that something will come out of it. I'm sure of it, even if it's not tomorrow.



You have people who believe they are scientifically literate but, in fact, are not. And I don't mind if you're not scientifically literate, but just admit that to yourself, so that you'll know, and perhaps you can take a first step to try to eradicate that.




Not enough books focus on how a culture responds to radically new ideas or discovery.
Especially in the biography genre, they tend to focus on all the sordid details in the life of the person who made the discovery. I find this path to be voyeuristic but not enlightening.
I'm often asked by parents
what advice can I give them to help get kids interested in science? And I have only one bit of advice. Get out of their way. Kids are born curious. Period.


Once you have an innovation culture
even those who are not scientists or engineers - poets, actors, journalists - they, as communities, embrace the meaning of what it is to be scientifically literate. They embrace the concept of an innovation culture. They vote in ways that promote it. They don't fight science and they don't fight technology.
When Kennedy said, 'Let's go to the moon,'
we didn't yet have a vehicle that wouldn't kill you on launch. He said we'll land a man on the moon in eight years and bring him back. That was an audacious goal to put forth in front of the American people.
I'm often asked - and occasionally in an accusatory way
'Are you atheist?' And it's like, 'You know, the only 'ist' I am is a scientist, all right?' I don't associate with movements. I'm not an 'ism.' I just - I think for myself.