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Nerdette’s Finest: Neil deGrasse Tyson Assigns Homework

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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in Chicago before receiving the Lincoln Leadership Prize from the The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation March 9, 2017. The award was presented by Apollo 13 captain Jim Lovell.

Justin Bull

On Nerdette, our guests assign us homework. It’s usually something to read, watch, or do — like a great book, a compelling TV show, or a life-changing daily routine. 

We’ve been lucky enough to have famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on the show TWICE, and both times he assigned homework that essentially asks you to save the world.

“If I were to give homework, the homework would be that there are problems society faces — civilization faces — that cannot and will not be solved awaiting the next app on your smartphone,” Tyson told Nerdette co-host Tricia Bobeda in 2017.

“Ask not what your cell phone can do for you,” Tricia replied.

“Yes!” Tyson said. “Ask what you can do for civilization.”


Why are we replaying these bits of homework right now? Well, our little program is turning five years old — FIVE — and we’re asking you to join the team. 

These last five years of Nerdette wouldn’t have been possible without you. You’ve listened. You’ve told your friends to listen. And maybe, on occasion, you’ve kicked us a couple dollars to show us how much you appreciate the voices we bring you.

Well this is one of those occasions. If you like Nerdette, please donate to support the show’s future. Any amount really, REALLY helps. And as a thank you, we’re offering some pretty sweet gifts. Like mugs, sweatbands, buttons, and even Lady Nerds of History posters. Read about what you can get (and donate!) here:

This is the kind of stuff you can get!!!

Oh yeah, one more thing. THANK YOU YOU’RE THE GREATEST.

(And if you want to hear the full versions of both of our interviews with Neil deGrasse Tyson, check them out here and here.)

This special rebroadcast was produced by Stefania Gomez.

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