ESU Perspective on “Cosmos”

BY CHRIS POWERS

SC Staff Writer

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, famous physicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, hosted the premiere of the new reboot of “Cosmos,” a show originally hosted by Carl Sagan in the 1980s, on March 2.

Cosmos” has always been an educational documentary, aimed to educate young Americans and inspire them to enter STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.

This show has inspired not only students at ESU to become interested in the sciences, but professors as well.

Dr. James Hunt, professor of biology and head of the marine science program at ESU, noted, “I am one of those people that pursued science as a career because of Carl Sagan. He made me feel like it was something I wanted to do.”

Dr. Sagan’s “Cosmos” had a great impact on a young generation of scientists in the ‘80s, and even for years after that. Many of today’s budding scientists, inspired by Dr. Sagan, go to ESU.

Nicholas Lukow is a physics student at ESU who has been influenced by Dr. Sagan.

Lukow stated, “I watched it in a philosophy class in high school and that’s what really made me interested in science and the arts. Up until then I just wanted to study economics and make money.”

In today’s climate of electronics and instant information, it is difficult to have kids watch documentaries like “Cosmos.”

As Dr. Hunt stated, “It is an uphill battle trying to catch kids’ attentions, but it could.”

Hunt went on to express his worry about childrens’ education and his confidence in the show.

“I do think there is a need for relaying science to younger kids, but the speech at the end led me to believe they were headed in the right direction,” he said.

Dr. Tyson seems to be trying to emulate the effect that Dr. Sagan had thirty years previously. Lukow’s opinion on the show seemed optimistic.

“I think, and I certainly hope, that it will inspire a new generation of scientists,” he said.

ESU student Cory Wickward believes that “this episode was more of an educational viewpoint instead of going right into the science, which was the right step here.”

“By the end, I thought it was wonderful,” Dr. Hunt said, “It was the prep show for what is coming.”

At the end of his premiere, Tyson issued a challenge to all of his viewers to “follow the evidence wherever it leads and question everything.”

This is the spirit that was instilled into the generations of scientists influenced by Dr. Sagan’s work.

Email Chris at:

cpowers@live.esu.edu

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