1. Why do you think the United States lags so far behind in the field of Science? What would you recommend (if anything) to get more people interested in Science?
We need a national common purpose, a goal we can achieve together analogous to landing people on the Moon (and returning him safely to Earth). I’d like us to have a completely renewable energy system conceived, designed, built, and used by every one of us in the U.S. We could lead the world in doing more with less. That effort would trickle up into every aspect of our lives, schools included.
2. What’s your favorite planet?
Earth. Earth is my favorite planet. All my friends are here, and I stay here for the air.
3. What would be the first thing you would change about the way the world is run today if you were to spontaneously.. dare I say it.. TAKE OVER THE WORLD???
We would have a Carbon Fee. We would charge everybody who produces carbon dioxide a fee, and that fee would go into a central fund, and be redistributed. This is how it’s done, in of all places, Alaska. The model for this exists in a very conservative state. So it is very reasonable that we could expand this model to the country and then the world. The average citizen of the US would receive, would get back, about $3,500. Oil companies have already built this fee in- they are planning for it, they know it’s coming sooner or later, it’s in all their financial plans. If we could see this moment, we could change the world.
The big idea I want everybody in the US to keep in mind, especially our politicians who got elected yesterday, is that the world isn’t gonna be able to do anything about climate change until the United States leads us. If the United States were leading the world in addressing climate change, it would be addressed in a heartbeat.
Let’s get going.
4. Do you and Neil deGrasse Tyson hang out regularly? If so, what do you talk about?
Astrophysics, the business of television, baseball, wine, and women.
5. What is your favorite science fact?
You and I are made of stardust. We are the stuff of exploded stars. We are therefore, at least one way that the Universe knows itself. That, to me, is astonishing.
6. In your opinion, what is the most important discovery in the last 10 years?
That the universe is not slowing down in its expansion, it’s accelerating. And, do you know why? NOBODY KNOWS WHY!
7. How can we make people realize that science really is just something you should understand, respect, and appreciate?
Show then tell. Show them your passion. Science is the best ideas humans have had (so far). Let your people see it for themselves. Science Rules…. the universe, and that includes us.
8. If you could do anything else as a profession that doesn’t involve science (not that you should), what would it be?
You stumped me. What profession doesn’t involve science? Lumberjack? Plenty of science. Bus driving? Hope you have a sense of momentum, torque, traction, and the passage of time. For me, science rules.
9. Is/was science a part of your everyday life? Also, I love you.
Science is part of everyone’s everyday life. [For example, its] Hard to find anything lovelier than a tree. They grow at right angles to a tangent of the nominal sphere of the Earth. They take water from the ground toward the sky. They are made mostly of carbon… which they take in right out of the air. How cool is that… and so on and on and on and on and on and on and on….
10. Where do you get your bow ties from?
When you see one you like, just buy it. If it’s good lookin’, someone is right behind you ready to snap it up. I find them at Nordstrom (the store and Rack). I have a couple dozen that Beau Ties of Vermont made into bows from straight ties with intriguing patterns. Astronomy2Go is a good source thereof. Right now, I’m diggin’ the slimline with arrow points. Ahh
11. Aside from Science, what is your favorite subject?
12. What do you think are the biggest thing’s that we can do to improve education in public schools?
Vote for improving schools every chance you get. If you’re a parent, get as involved in your kids’ education as you can…without troubling the teachers ;-). The longest journey begins with a single step. In my view, we have to support schools… That takes taxes, and that takes a majority of us believing in public education.
13. Bill, what’s the best way to articulate that someone needs more information about a subject without sounding like a ‘know-it-all’?
Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t. I respect that especially.
14. I vaguely remember reading an interview a long while back when your show was still on where you said you liked model trains? Was that why most episodes of the show had train stuff in them (like the model trains carrying the planets in the solar system one)?
I do love model trains. They carry memories from childhood. But for me, there’s more. If we had more and better trains in the U.S., I’m pretty sure we’d be better off. Trains are more efficient than just about any other form of transportation: They roll with much less friction than rubber tires. They do not have to carry surplus motive power (energy/unit of time). And, they run on schedules that can be optimized for energy use and level of service. What’s not to love?…
15. Bill! I don’t have a question, I just want you to know you were the one who inspired me to always be curious. I grew up watching your show and you should forever be proud of the young minds you’ve changed!
Thank you indeed. Let’s change the world.