Andromeda Galaxy (M31) // Credit: Tony Hallas
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to hammer away on a speech I’ve been slowly working on and finally finished it. I’ll be giving this talk as one of four keynote addresses at the International Planetarium Society
meeting in about two weeks in Beijing, China. I’ll also deliver a modified version of the talk later this year at the Starmus Festival
in the Canary Islands.
The talk is titled, “Does the Universe Care About Itself?: Communicating Astronomy in the 21st Century.” It focuses on the entertainment-saturated culture we now live in, the often oversimplified and distorted science that gets reported on TV shows, the confounding lack of interest in science from many young people, and the incredible opportunity we have as journalists, planetarium professionals, scientists, artists, and musicians to spread the word about the revolution that has occurred in astronomy over the past decade.
“Does the universe care about itself?” I write. “Yes, we born of the cosmos do care. But many more of us on this planet need the realization of where we are and why we are here. It’s a message that can liberate us all and make us a great forward-moving civilization of the future.
“We need all the firepower we can get. The stakes are high. Knowing and appreciating the universe and how it works is too important to let slip away.
“As a friend of ours once wrote, this world has only one sweet moment set aside for us. That moment is now.”
I look forward to seeing some of you in China and at Starmus to continue discussing the great story of the universe around us.