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Ladyada is having breakfast with Neil deGrasse Tyson! @neiltyson @adafruit @popsci

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OK! We just got word that Ladyada is having breakfast with Neil deGrasse Tyson! We asked if all of you could ask your questions in advance for Neil deGrasse Tyson, the answer was YES 🙂 Post up your questions in the comments! We have a few physics related ones and we’re not going to talk about Pluto, at all 🙂

Neil and Ladyada are both featured in this month’s Popular Science!

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  1. Neil, what do you think about Stephen Hawking’s idea that information never falls into a black hole. The information he says is held on the black hole’s surface, event horizon. Do you have any thoughts about the universe being a hologram?

  2. Is there a place for makers and maker skills in experimental physics?

  3. Given the mistaken belief in the planet Vulcan, how are physicists so sure dark matter exists and we truly know gravity?

  4. What’s the best place to meet single, middle-aged science nerds?

  5. Neil, I am obsessed with dust+gas clouds… why don’t they get more attention?!
    A few questions:

    — How much do we know about dust+gas clouds in general? Is it a domain ripe for understanding – -or are we confident in knowledge base? ?What is the biggest mystery?

    — Do we know if there is more intergalactic gas+dust cloud material (by mass) than gas+dust clouds inside galaxies?

    –If I were a giant— and I swiped my hand through a dust cloud– would it likely feel like sand through your fingers? Assume they are not energetic in any way?

    — Re: solar system formation + dust clouds — would we have to assume that any intelligent life planets would have needed a heavy element rich supernova involved in seeding dust clouds and stimulating solar system formation? (e.g. Hard to imagine human-like civilization arising without rare minerals for metal weapons to information technology?

    — Is there a common ratio for dust+gas clouds to stars in galaxies (by galaxy type? e.g. assume elliptical do not have as much dust?).

    — Re: our solar system formation. When the sun ‘ignited’ and sent out a massive shockwave— how large was our Earth (in terms of mass/accretion) at that moment? Is the Oort cloud debris from that moment?

  6. You explained quantum tunneling as an electron either being on one side of a mountain or the other, but only when you observe one of the locations. What happens when you observe both locations simultaneously?

    You also described the universe as being flat. If dark energy is causing the universe to expand despite the opposing gravitational forces, doesn’t that mean that the universe has a net positive energy and should be spherical?

    Personal question: What are you passions outside of astrophysics?


  7. You explained quantum tunneling as an electron either being on one side of a mountain or the other, but only when you observe one of the locations. What happens when you observe both locations simultaneously?

    You also described the universe as being flat. If dark energy is causing the universe to expand despite the opposing gravitational forces, could the universe have a net positive energy, and in fact be spherical (or pear shaped like the earth)?

    Personal question: What are your passions outside of astrophysics?


  8. With the recent advances in space exploration, the philae lander and our recent fly by of the dwarf planet Pluto, do you feel as though we as a country are nearing a renaissance of sorts in space exploration interest? Do you feel like this renewed interest is a stark contrast to the constant budget cuts and strains on NASA?

  9. Hi Neil!

    Can you weigh in on the possibility for FTL travel in the future? Are there promising theories that are actively being experimented with? Do you imagine we’ll see any form of FTL usage (travel, communication) over the next century?


  10. Given the latest developments in the field of applied Quantum Mechanics potentially becoming the foundation of a new era of computer systems.
    Many future computer advancements might be based on three states of possibilities, rather than our current binary system (i.e. 1’s and 0’s) – do you think it is time to begin developing a ternary system of programming language to mesh properly with the technologies?
    Thank you, in advance, for any response ?

  11. Why are we not chasing the money ? All the mineral wealth we could use for the next several centuries is in the asteroid belt. Don’t you think mining could finally make space exploration self sustaining?

  12. Why doesn’t the SpaceX Falcon 9 lander use a landing platform with a catchment system?

  13. Dear, Dr. Tyson.

    Thank you for being a significant influence on my education. I’ve watched you since I was five, when you used to be on NOVA specials. I’m now starting my first year in college and pursuing a Physics major, along with an Astronomy and Math minor. Being someone who feels trapped by a very by-the-book system, how would you suggest people like myself and my peers deal with wanting to explore new ways of doing things when obstacles such as budget cuts, personalities of teachers, and overall local political decisions affect our educational environment? The school’s Astronomy and Computer Science majors were dropped due to budget cuts in 2010, yet the Governor approved construction of a 1.9 billion dollar stadium.

    Also, if there were a wormhole set a minute in the past and I were to walk around to the other side of it, only to see myself a minute in the past, what would happen after that minute has past? Would I see him walk next to me, or would the wormhole need to constantly follow this figure?

    Can planets sink into the fabric of -space-time, or is this just a Blackhole?

    I’ve tried emailing your show, as well as writing you a letter filled with questions, which I haven’t been able to send, yet. I don’t know where else to ask you these things. Your colleague Dr. Charles Liu was kind enough to email me last year, when I was picking through colleges. In any case, thank you for supporting my furthering of knowledge and being someone to look up to all these years. You’ve helped to inspire me to want to pilot the ship of the imagination.


  14. Reminder to self… Always read the speech-to-text before posting ?

    Pretend that read ‘computer systems, many future…’

    It should also have ended with the fundamental reason for the post, which is asking how you believe the development of such communication might effect the science of space?

  15. I heard you mention once that there’ll be a day when the universe goes dark because the finite amount of material available to make new stars will eventually run out. Wouldn’t it be possible for material from another universe to enter ours via a black hole? Will this universe expand to reach a googolplex in length, thus causing repetitions to occur in the possible combinations particles can make, resulting in there being a copy of you somewhere out there?


  16. If in a multiverse all options are represented doesn’t this mean there is only 1 result possible? No matter how you arrived at every option possible, through infinite universes, parallel or not every option is one thing.Multiple multiverses would be identical.

  17. If in a multiverse all options are represented doesn’t this mean there is only 1 result possible? No matter how you arrived at every option possible, through infinite universes, parallel or not every option is one thing.Multiple multiverses would be identical.
    THANK YOU!!!

  18. Let’s say a star falls into the gravity of a black hole, as the star gets closer the star, from our point of view the star moves slower and slower to the hole until it doesn’t move at all because the gravity of the black hole is pulling the light so much it takes a long time for the light to get to our eyes we won’t be around to see it be sucked in.

    So the question is, if a black hole can pull in so many objects that emit light, could a black hole actually be what is at the center of a galaxy? If you look at the center of the galaxy it is a bright could of light so could the center of the Galaxy or Galaxies actually be a supermassive black hole, and just be bright because it’s left so many objects light suspended in its gravity?

  19. Dr. Tyson: Elon Musk said that Mars could be given a habitable atmosphere by nuking the pols and presumably vaporizing the polls to make an atmosphere. This does not make since to me (although I have no problem with irradiation a bunch of frozen rocks). But the current average atmospheric pressure on Mars is .6 kpa (kilo Pascal’s). The Armstrong limit (the atmospheric pressure needed to keep the blood from boiling) is 6.3 kpa. The minimum atmospheric pressure you would need to breath is 25 kpa and that would require supplemental O2. 25 kpa is approx. the atmospheric pressure at 32000 feet in Earth’ atmosphere. So to make Mars livable would take an increase in Martian atmospheric pressure of over 41 times its current level.

    I can see how you could do it with a couple of Huge nickle iron asteroid propelled and guided with M2P2 smacking the poles nearly simultaneously, and subsequent shadowing the planet from the solar wind with M2P2. But that’s a century or two ahead of us.

  20. Dr. Tyson, if alien life was ever confirmed in our solar system, what would be the next step we as humans should take?

  21. My mind melts trying to understand the mechanics behind time dilation. Is it our perception of time differs only (one clock here, once clock there) or is there a force of nature that physically slows down biological rates like aging? For context, I’m applying the thought that “time” is not a force of nature – its constant motion being measured by us. Even if you ask when to meet someone, you’re really only supplying an attribute we give to a collection of changes or motion; Noon meaning that the sun just happens to be above us in the sky because of where we are in rotation.

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