What is Tyson’s Walk?

  • What is Tyson’s Walk?
  • What does ‘Tyson’s Walk’ mean?
  • Accuracy & Peer Review

 

  What is Tyson’s Walk?

 

Tyson’s Walk is a journal exploring the wonderous scope of our scientific knowledge. We aim to help people understand our world better. Our goal is simple and two-fold: Celebration & Education

Celebration:

At face value, there are a many concepts of Science which are flat out amazing. The orbit of the planets, the origin of the solar system, how hydrogen fuses in our sun; all of these things are wonderous to consider.

But a celebration of Science must also involve moving beyond formula & data memorization; Discourse must be about the connected world these data describe. These data are a means of abstractly representing the world and the relationships within. The natural order as revealed by Science is incredible. Increasing one’s understanding of the world as revealed by Science is an enhancement to our daily experience.

For those of us who write for Tyson’s Walk, Science is a tool for revealing a universe which is exhilirating, wonderful, incredible, and truely awe filled.

     
[ View on YouTube ]
    “I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says, “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is, but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty.

    ”First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is, I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colours in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the colour. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic?

    ”All kinds of interesting questions which the science, knowledge, only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.”
- Richard Feynman, 1981 BBC interview

Education:

The description above encompases education in kind, so I’ll digress. Education goes one step further. In a way, the site is, with varying degrees of subtlety and bluntness, a giant head fake for teaching Science Literacy.

Science isn’t just about reaping neat rewards; It’s a way of critically evaluating the world. The Scientific Method lets us work through our perceptive or biological shortcomings to discover the way the universe works.

     
    ”Science has taught us that because we have a talent for deceiving ourselves, subjectivity may not freely reign. Its conclusions derive from the interrogation of Nature, and are not in all cases predesigned to satisfy our wants.” – Carl Sagan
 

Perhaps you say, ‘Isn’t this journal about the joy and wonder of Science? What gives?‘ It can be difficult, even unsettling, to learn about the shortcomings of our perception or the ways which we trick ourselves through conceit and misapplication of common sense. It is no fun to learn we are wrong, when we tried our hardest and thought we were right.

But this discomfort is the tax paid for a humble appreciation of the cosmos. Awe must be tempered with humility. The certainty in the incredible rewards of Science need to be digested with the ever-present modesty that one day a new discovery may flip that understanding on its head or reveal a more fundamental cause of action.

Finally, I submit that in part we have perhaps the loftiest goal possible: Changing the world for the better. I don’t know precisely how to fix the world, (or even if I had ideas, I am still just one fallable person). But I do know that a Democratic society functions better when that society is educated and is therefore capable of making more intelligent decisions. Critical Thinking and Scientific Literacy are essential to broadly improving the quality of our culture and long term survival of the species.


 

  What does ‘Tyson’s Walk’ mean?

 

The term “Tyson’s Walk” is an allusion describing the act of excitedly sharing something wonderful about Science.

This term is based on a speech given by astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson Nov 7th, 2006 at the Beyond Belief conference in La Salk, CA.

I want somebody to put electrodes on my head, and when I reflect on our kinship with the cosmos, and when I do the calculation that shows that a 15 ton (iron) meteorite that we have … that if you take all the iron from the hemoglobin of the people in the tri-state area of New York City, you can recover that much iron out of their blood, and realize that the iron from that meteorite and the iron from their blood has common origin in the core of a star, tell me what part of my brain is lighting up, because that excites me. That makes me want to grab people on the street, and say ‘have you heard this!?’

… It’s quite literally true that we are star dust, in the highest exalted way that I can use that phrase. And so I feel, and I use words, I bask in the majesty of the cosmos. I use words, compose sentences, that sound like sentances I hear outta people that had revelations of Jesus, who go on their pilgrimmages to mecca. There’s some commonality of feeling … I want someone to do that experiment.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Beyond Belief 2006

[You can view more of the section of his talk we’re referencing here.]

Tyson’s Walk is named after the empathy we feel for this idea; To reflect on a Product of Science and to be flipped head over heels by the enlightenment. To be so energized by this knowledge that we are driven to offer these ideas and feelings with others that they too can experience it.


 

  Accuracy & Peer Review

 

We strive to be accurate in the information we’re reporting because we understand that there’s additional danger inhereint to errors when one’s trying to take on the role of an educator.

That said, we come from a variety of backgrounds and our goals are to inspire further learning, not to be a single and de-facto review of a topic. I write this paragraph before a single article is commenced and I feel assured that it will be innevitable, despite our best efforts, for errors to occur.

To help combat this, at the bottom of our articles you will find a link called Peer Review. Via this link we invite all our readers to discuss a topic further in a way cleverly befitting the rigorous necessities of Science. Through our collective mind of the internet, one of our subjects may reach an expert in the field well suited to contribute even more to the conversation.


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