Talking Tech with Neil deGrasse Tyson!

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[music]. i want to do that you got it go for it . all right sup guys i'm kim phd here and . welcome to another guest a slightly . unusual video but so just to give a . little context on what's going on here . just shot a video with startalk and it . went pretty well you should go and check . it out i'll probably have a link in the . description below but i figured while . i'm here with neil and chuck might as . well get a little interview in since . it's only fair since you did interview. me about two years ago we should reverse . roles a little bit i'll talk to you for . a little bit good to see we go yeah i . could see you again too by the way um . you're very nicely . you were like 14 or something i was i . was pretty young and i feel like that . was definitely a big part of what we . talked about but i've seen a lot since . then and in fact you were 12 years old i . played george basically an infant but . yeah so this is this is gonna be fun i . think the thing that was on my mind just . when i had the opportunity to ask you . anything is just from a an . astrophysicist perspective i mean we . look at the tech that we have on a palm . of our hands every day and it's it's . pretty sweet you know new phones new . tablets but a lot of that comes from the . higher end the the military technology . the space program technology a lot of . things eventually trickle their way down . into what we're able to hold in our . hands are the things that you guys have . seen or heard of that maybe we don't . know about that's on its way that might . end up and our phones or tablets or. handhelds someday i'm not authorized . [laughter]. why don't i i have some ideas but i'm . not very good at predicting the future . sure and i have good evidence that i'm . not good at predicting the future and . i've told this many times chuck when i'm . old enough to remember star trek in . first-run okay my past ii can't what's . your past and so there's the warp drives . and the photon torpedoes and in this . machine we put in a card and then hot . food comes out instantly this was an . extraordinary view of the future and i . say yeah . yeah that's all going to happen and . there's one thing about star trek that i . could not imagine and it it took the . realism of star trek out of it for me . and that was the fact that they could . just walk up to a door and the door . would open how does the door know over . here and out of there and it opens and . for some reason the warp drives and the. photon torpedoes and the transporters . were all believable to me or not the . auto opening door automatic doors is . where you drew the line i had that i i . was i so this is all literally before . any automatic doors okay so that's why i . wouldn't trust my sense of the future . here but i do want to give you an acute . appreciation for how the past became the. future all right so let's go back a . hundred years the dawn of our . understanding of the atom . now how does the atom work i don't know . let's probe it we start probing it in. the 1920s through particle accelerators. and experiments out of this comes . quantum physics the quantum on top of . that albert einstein says mmm using what . we know about quantum physics and using . what we know about this kind of physics . i can put them together calculate i've . come up with a new thing that would . occur in atoms it's called the . stimulated emission of radiation okay no . one paid any attention to that paper it . was interesting it advanced quantum . physics but if you had lawmakers and . politicians and people saying why . doesn't that help me today why are you . doing research has nothing to do with . anything put him around back then they . would be criticized in quantum physics . from beginning to end what a waste of . resources you're so smart why are you . wasting it on atoms it would take 40 . years 50 years before quantum physics . would become the very foundation of . information technology there is no . creation storage or retrieval of . information without an understanding of . the quantum not only that this obscure . research paper that einstein wrote on . the stimulated emission of radiation it . would that would take 40 years 40 years . later the laser would be invented based . on that principle. oh what a three of those letters stand . for the light amplification by the . stimulated emission of radiation was . einstein thinking barcodes that's why . what a laser cosmetic peel no no so all . i can tell you is i don't know what the . future will bring . but if you stop investing in basic . research today you won't have a future . so it's being worked on today we should . encourage it to be worked on today and . don't go up to a scientist and say how . does that relate to me today and how is . that the only right answer is i have no . idea but evidence of the history this . exercise tells us that one day it will . so there are things that are hugely . important to your life and your i mean . the collective view that no one knows . about yet correct correct . all that matters if you're curious is. that you're exploring something you do . not yet know i'll give it can i give . another example i would love it by you . my examples okay yeah yeah so far so . good. because i don't want to be like i'm just . kind of absorbing it so okay whatever . you usually you do all the talking a lot . of times i do but that's scripted that's . a lot easier oh well okay okay i'm not . scripted i'm just i'm just blathering it . works all right my physics professor in . college his name was edward purcell . sounds like a nice guy nice yeah it . turns out he was a really nice guy he . did calculations that gave us ways to . measure the existence and the depth and . the composition of gas clouds in space . did very important research he also . discovered a phenomena manaan where if . you put an electromagnetic field across . an atomic nucleus okay it will actually . change that field according to the mass . of the nucleus there's a resonance . between the light that passed . cross it and the nucleus itself yeah it . was called nuclear magnetic resonance . got the nobel prize for that afterwards . a clever medical engineer said wait a . minute if you could put this field of . course and know the mass of the nucleus . and i can differentiate this nucleus . from this nucleus i can make a machine . put you in the machine make images of . all your nuclei and thus was born the . magnetic resonance imaging which used to . have and but it's one of the n-words . that you're not supposed to use nuclear . you go into a machine that uses nuclear . magnetic resonance but the hospital's . figured nobody wants to go in a machine . that has nuclear honor so they dropped . the end yeah drop the n-word right kept . magnetic resonance imager and it's. arguably the most potent tool in the . arsenal of the medical doctor to . diagnose the condition of your body . without cutting you open that is based . upon a principle of physics discovered . by a physicist who had no interest in . medicine so quantum physics lasers . nuclear magnetic resonance the list goes. on. the unknown yeah let's do one mine okay . do you know the laser alignment that . connected the space shuttle to dock with . the space station used a certain laser. and programming technology that was then . adapted for lasik surgery allowing the . laser to align with your eye even if . your eye moves so that the cut is always . in the right place so so then you might . say well why have an 18 billion dollar . agency just to invent grooves in a . pavement okay we should have the . transportation safety board invent this. but they didn't yeah we should have . other people invented but they didn't . this is my point however complex are . however simple the germination of an . idea does not always come because you . legislated and in the agencies that you . set up make sure there are cross . pollinating pathways without which. people stay in their silos of thinking . and. no truly great discoveries would unfold . you can't necessarily decide to tell . someone to get an idea or to do . something better but when a better idea . or a really forward-thinking . organization comes along and happens to . do it really well spread it share it . enable it thanks for watching . .
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