Cosmic Awe

Neil deGrasse Tyson on his new Fox series

Cosmic Awe
Photo by Jana Birchum

Tonight, the first episode of the Cosmos reboot will premiere in the U.S. at prime time on Fox, and then afterwards in 170 countries in 45 languages.

According to its host, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, “It’s the largest rollout of a television series in the history of television.” During SXSW Interactive, Tyson sat down to discuss.

If Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey were a traditional science documentary, then Fox’s programming decision might seem odd. But it’s void of talking heads and tripod shots. Instead, the series creates a personal relationship between the viewer and the science. “[Cosmos] has managed to take the science that’s out there, put a thread from that science through you and onto elements of the universe that show you why that science matters to you, and how you might be compelled to respond in the face of that information,” says Tyson. “By the end of a show, especially by the end of the series, we’d like to think we’ve woven this tapestry with that thread, with you in the center of that tapestry, and you get to look around and say, ‘Now I know and understand my place in the universe.’”

In this way, the series provides a new avenue toward improved science literacy. “When I think of science literacy, I don’t think of a body of knowledge,” says Tyson. “My personal definition of science literacy is: How much do you still wonder about the world around you? What is your state of curiosity? When you pass something you don’t know or understand, do you pause and reflect on what the answer might be?”

At the core of this philosophy lies an honest degree of skepticism, which Tyson admits might burst a few bubbles. “There’s so much to actually be impressed with in the universe. I don’t want you to be distracted by things that are not that impressive.”

A Conversation With Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Saturday, March 8, 2pm


Keep up with all our dispatches from SXSW at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters/ for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

READ MORE
More South by Southwest
SXSW Expands SouthBites Programming
SXSW Expands SouthBites Programming
David Chang announced as featured speaker

Brandon Watson, Sept. 30, 2014

Two More Acquisitions for SXSW Alumni
Two More Acquisitions for SXSW Alumni
'Honeymoon' and 'Thank You a Lot' picked up

Monica Riese, March 28, 2014

More SXSW
Ben Wheatley  Catches <i>Free Fire</i>
Ben Wheatley Catches Free Fire
Director on making his U.S. action debut

Richard Whittaker, April 21, 2017

So What Is <i>Trainspotting </i> Anyway?
So What Is Trainspotting Anyway?
Choose life. Choose a sequel. Choose director Danny Boyle.

Richard Whittaker, March 24, 2017

More by Ashley Moreno
My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea
Visually arresting tale of a high school gone to sea

April 28, 2017

Moontower Review: Austin Towers
Moontower Review: Austin Towers
The range of local comedy voices was on full view at the Velv

April 24, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

South by Southwest, SXSW, SXSW 2014, SXSW Interactive 2014, Episodic, COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey, Neil deGrasse Tyson, science, Fox, universe, astronomy

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)