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Hailing Frequencies Open

This is a follow-up in some ways to the post I wrote on Mars and whether there’s room for inspiration in the cerebral spaces or whether we’ve become culturally dependent upon athletes as role models…

Neil deGrasse Tyson may not be a name that’s familiar to you. If it’s not, though, IMHO it should be. Dr Tyson is the Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, a regular on US television programmes such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and the sort of engaging, enthusiastic supporter of science that, frankly, we need more of, these days. Think of him as America’s Brian Cox – but without the travel budget.

Dr Tyson hosts a US radio programme, StarTalk Radio, which I listen to as a podcast – highly recommended, incidentally – in which he regularly has guests to satisfy the geekiest of geeks. I’ve heard shows discussing cult sitcom The Big Bang Theory (on which he has appeared as a guest star), the physics of superheroes, politics and science, the physics of football* and on Star Trek.

And this is where I finally get to the point! StarTalk Radio did a two-part interview with Nichelle Nichols, known to SF fans around the world as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in the original Star Trek, and an inspiration to countless people who have watched the show over the decades – especially in the context of the struggles for equal rights that were going on at the time Star Trek first aired. Here they are: part one, A Conversation with Nichelle Nichols, and part two, NASA and Nichelle Nichols.

I encourage – no, exhort – you to go and download these interviews – and, indeed, any of the other fine episodes of StarTalk Radio. Listen. Learn. Be inspired. And if you find yourself unmoved by Ms Nichols’ tale of a very famous figure who turned out to be her biggest fan . . . well, then, you’re made of sterner stuff than I

Hailing frequencies open . . .

* At the risk of annoying our friends across the Pond, I feel I must make clear that, as StarTalk Radio is a US show, it’s not proper football – you know: when you actually kick the ball…