Science Club attends Neil Tyson's lecture

Science Club attends Neil Tyson's lecture
Posted on 05/26/2022
Science Club attends Neil Tyson's lecture

Science Club attends Neil deGrasse Tyson's lecture at the Paramount Theater on May 17

After a two-year hiatus, Science Club is back! Thanks to support from the Port Angeles Education Foundation and the Americorps program, 22 PAHS students and one alumnus attended Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson's lecture "Cosmic Perspectives" at the Paramount Theater in Seattle on May 17. Dr. Tyson seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed himself as he talked for more than 2 hours about our place in the cosmos. Teacher John Gallagher shares some highlights from the evening:

  1. Pluto. Is it a planet? No. Get over it.
  1. With nearly 7 billion cell phones on planet Earth, do you really think aliens have visited us but pictures of them haven't gone viral? A cat does something cute and it's all over the planet, but aliens can stay hidden? Really?
  1. There are more molecules of water in a cup of water than cups of water on the entire planet. There are more molecules of air in one breath than there are "breaths" in the entire atmosphere. Take a breath and drink that water and you are breathing and drinking at least one molecule that your favorite hero (or villain) from any time in history breathed and drank at some point in their life.
  1. There are more bacteria in the lower cm of your gut than humans on Planet Earth. Mess with those bacteria, and you'll be sorry. Still think Earth was built for us?
  1. Pick a random point in the night sky where you see nothing with your eye. What's in that nothing? About 1,000 galaxies in a point as big as a grain of sand held out in front of you. Each of those galaxies contains about 100 billion stars. That means there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on all of Planet Earth. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe.
  1. We used to think there was one planet, Earth. Then we thought there was only one solar system. Only one galaxy. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Is there really just one "universe". Or, are we part of a multiverse? Marvel sure hopes so.
  1. The first Earth Day was in 1970, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was founded in 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970, the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970 and the Clean Water Act in 1972. Why? Because we went to the Moon! We had our first views of our own planet Earth from space and realized how fragile it is, and how there is nowhere else to go if we mess it up.
  1. However, if you think Mother Earth is here to protect us, think again! Earth is out to kill us! Volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, floods, droughts, famine, and disease. How about the universe? It's out to kill us too! Solar storms, black holes, comet and asteroid impacts. Especially asteroid impacts!
  1. Top elements in the universe: Hydrogen, Helium, Oxygen, Carbon, and Nitrogen. Top elements in your body: Hydrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen. We are made of stardust. We are part of the universe but the universe is also a part of us.
  1. Dr Tyson finished with a tribute to his hero (and mine), Carl Sagan. My favorite moment of the evening was seeing Neil standing on stage in front of an image of Carl. Two generations of science educators, two people who have devoted their lives to spreading their understanding and love of the universe to others. My high school Astronautics teacher took me to a Carl Sagan lecture at Carnegie Hall, and it was an experience I will never forget. I hope we have provided such an experience to our students.