Bill Nye, Brian Greene, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Lawrence Krauss on the Limitations of Mathematics

Math lovers and aficionados will find the following discourse both entertaining and informative.

Below you will find the video and partial transcript of Arizona State University’s Origins Project’s Q&A segment from their ‘The Storytelling of Science’ panel discussion, featuring “well-known science educator Bill Nye, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, theoretical physicist Brian Greene, Science Friday’s Ira Flatow, popular science fiction writer Neal Stephenson, executive director of the World Science Festival Tracy Day, and Origins Project director Lawrence Krauss.”

The first question asked of the panel was:

Q: “If you could give us all a one word piece of advice for our own science storytelling, what would it be?”

Bill Nye was the first to reply with, “Algebra, learn algebra.” Neil deGrasse Tyson follows with, ‘Ambition’. Lawrence Krauss with, ‘Passion’. Neal Stephenson with, ‘Empathize’. Richard Dawkins states that since empathize has already been taken, he will choose ‘Poetry’. While Ira Flatow states that ”you should be able to tell it so that your mother can understand it.”

The second question asked by the audience is what kicks off the fireworks:

Q: “I’ve always wanted to be an astronautical engineer, but I am horrible at math, but I’ve got lots of passion. Can this dream ever be a reality and where do I start?”

The dialogue of the panelists was as follows:

Q&A Segment – The Great Debate: THE STORYTELLING OF SCIENCE (Part 2/2)

[Continued at chycho]


13 Comments on "Bill Nye, Brian Greene, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Lawrence Krauss on the Limitations of Mathematics"

  1. Simon Valentine | Nov 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm |

    same gaggle of goslings i see.

    what it feels like:

    • Rhoid Rager | Nov 19, 2013 at 1:14 am |

      Yet they are purported to be leaders. Tyson certainly acts like one.

      • Simon Valentine | Nov 19, 2013 at 9:53 am |

        imo that’s just it; that’s just a side problem – even the idea that such extrapolations may be made – that Tyson acts like a leader – that he takes a commanding role and the others go with it – is something that indicates problem instead of solution. like marvin there i don’t give a good damn if people want or feel comfortable with their primate tribe bs. at the same time i don’t go “dominion stomping” around and that said i see how it could be lain out that i was “just another tyson” for doing so. people. aren’t. good enough. and neither am i. i hope there to be a future in which humans have gone further and can see the underlying structure of things because there is a moment in there, even when merely experimentally practicing with it part time, at which one realizes the futility of structure. learning one’s own reactions to that moment … now that’s something that can take awhile.

        something from the hodgepodge: play with the idea “spiritual solution to n-body physics”

        • Rhoid Rager | Nov 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm |

          It was only in the last few years did I fully realize the futility of structure….I believe Jung referred to it as individuation, for he didn’t believe in god, he Knew god.

          • Simon Valentine | Nov 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm |

            it certainly helps procedurals, having the all-nothing to go back to and all :O *sometimes i feel like a Turing machine* &sing&

  2. Monkey See Monkey Do | Nov 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm |


  3. kowalityjesus | Nov 19, 2013 at 1:18 am |

    I wish this was something we would want to watch in 50 years… It was nice, but it didn’t really turn out like that.

    I think a large part of the reason that ‘science fiction is turning more inwards’ is the idea that the Universe is not as spiritually/hyperdimensionally far away as current scientific paradigms would lead us to believe. I don’t think star ships are our next frontier.

    • Rhoid Rager | Nov 19, 2013 at 2:58 am |

      Good insight there.

    • Simon Valentine | Nov 19, 2013 at 10:29 am |

      there’s a lot of ways to read from this; one being that Einstein-Rosen bridges are currently looking more viable than star ships. love thy neighbor. don’t drop bombs of any type. there’s always a direct counter directly nearby.

      • Rhoid Rager | Nov 19, 2013 at 2:26 pm |

        I was especially intrigued by Brian Greene’s hesitance to admit that math was the language of the universe (especially using the tongue-in-cheek scenario of an advanced civilization teaching us this) despite using math to explore string theory. There was an aesthetic of self-denial there that was lacking in the other trubadors.

        • Simon Valentine | Nov 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm |

          i just got done reading your “people ought not believe in leaders” on another thread and was like “wow yeah i see a lot of that directly where i work” and that continued as i kept reading that comment. my mind applied that comment here, to a minor extent. “the authority”. somehow my mind went to Obi-Wan’s first speech to Luke about the force. “it surrounds us it penetrates us it binds us”. nobody “has” it.

          Greene has less force power than the universe has and he’s not a Nihilus. me? i like Nihilus. he’s like a patron saint.

          i wish i knew where Greene’s “most developed basics” of black hole hologram stuff could be found. i think part of the problem in being bystanders to sittings like this is that even if the people (in this case the guys in the vid) aren’t part of a subsection of economy just as hell-bent on all its usual shit as is [viewers] subsection of economy, it doesn’t much matter since viewers are capable of seeing [them] as a clique or pseudo-clique form irregardless of “actuality” and thus just as, if not more than, subject to such influence as cause errors in judgment.

  4. doodahman | Nov 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm |

    These guys are scientists the way that chocolate covered raisins are a food group.

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