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Commentary: Chance to see astrophysicist at Ohio State too exciting to pass up

Neil deGrasse Tyson — the celestial-minded, professional stargazer, deep-space lover and the rock-god of astrophysicists — is coming to Ohio State Thursday.

O-H …

Perhaps you’re not as excited as I am to hear from Tyson. If you’re anything like some of my roommates, then you have no idea what astrophysics is and could never identify a specific astrophysicist.

In stark contrast, a large number Ohio State students easily could have named one Nov. 6. These students braved both wind and rain to snag tickets so they could attend Tyson’s forthcoming visit to OSU, where he is set to give a talk on the latest cosmological discoveries.

I find that students generally view science-related material in one of two different ways; they either appreciate or depreciate science; it either stirs up excitement or apathy.

Maybe the reason for this divide in thinking comes from a mischaracterization that science is too obscure and complex for any non-science minded person to understand; while it can be complicated, it is not incomprehensible. One can generally understand how things come to be and currently exist without having an exhaustive knowledge of specific details.

Tyson’s work and popularity speaks to this point. From being the host of the Public Broadcasting Service’s Nova ScienceNow to remaking Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, Tyson has become renowned for presenting scientific realities in an understandable way.

Through Tyson, I see two proper ways to view science both for the scientist and for the layman; one way is that of the academic, to study, examine and seek to understand every unknown detail; another is that of the artist, to abide in the mystery of the unknown while marveling in its grandeur. Both views are opposed to scientific apathy.

I am trying to form myself into a productive member of society and having a base knowledge of scientific material is the least I can do. In this pursuit, I would be foolish if I did not take advantage of the opportunities this university affords to its students. Being lethargic toward learning has no place in my life.

While it is too late to get a ticket for Tyson’s talk Thursday, it’s not too late to increase your cosmological and astrological knowledge. Here are some quick bits of information to get you started: an astrophysicist studies the universe, the universe is expanding and the earth is more than 4 billion years old.

We live in an exciting age of scientific discovery, and even with past scientific advances taken into account, humanity is just now beginning to uncover the complexity and glorious splendor of space.

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