Top 144 Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes

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I was born the same week NASA was founded, so we're the

I was born the same week NASA was founded, so we’re the same age and feel some of the same pains, joys, and frustrations.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
If we find life out there, and it’s not us, we will deem it not intelligent. But what may be equally as likely is that we find life that’s vastly more intelligent than we are. If that’s the case, we are putty in their hands.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I claim that space is part of our culture. You’ve heard complaints that nobody knows the names of the astronauts, that nobody gets excited about launches, that nobody cares anymore except people in the industry. I don’t believe that for a minute.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I’m baffled all the time. We don’t know what’s driving 96% of the universe. Everybody you know and love and heard of and think about and see in the night sky through a telescope: four percent of the universe.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The universe is almost 14 billion years old, and, wow! Life had no problem starting here on Earth! I think it would be inexcusably egocentric of us to suggest that we’re alone in the universe.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I have a personal philosophy in life: If somebody else can do something that I’m doing, they should do it. And what I want to do is find things that would represent a unique contribution to the world – the contribution that only I, and my portfolio of talents, can make happen. Those are my priorities in life.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Science literacy is the artery through which the solutions of tomorrow’s problems flow.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Venus transit is not a spectacle the way a total solar eclipse is a spectacle.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
What are we promoting in society? Well-behaved automatons that spew back what they learned in a book. That’s not science. You can get a parrot to do that.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Most religious people in America fully embrace science. So the argument that religion has some issue with science applies to a small fraction of those who declare that they are religious. They just happen to be a very vocal fraction, so you got the impression that there are more of them than there actually is.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Some asteroids have us in their sights. Be nice to sort of go near them and find out what they’re made of, possibly tag their ears so they’re always broadcasting to us their location. In case one of their trajectories head straight for us, we’ll know well in advance to do something about it.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Carl Sagan spoke fluently between biology and geology and astrophysics and physics. If you move fluently across those boundaries, you realize that science is everywhere; science is not something you can step around or sweep under the rug.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
One of the things that fascinates me most is when people are so charmed by the universe that it becomes part of their artistic output.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
As a citizen, as a public scientist, I can tell you that Einstein essentially overturned a so strongly established paradigm of science, whereas Darwin didn’t really overturn a science paradigm.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
We have bred multiple generations of people who have not experienced knowing where you are the moment a news story broke, with that news story being great and grand and something that elevates society instead of diminishes it.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
For me, the most fascinating interface is Twitter. I have odd cosmic thoughts every day and I realized I could hold them to myself or share them with people who might be interested.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Whether or not people go into space or serve the space industry, they will have the sensitivity to those fields necessary to stimulate unending innovation in the technological fields, and it’s that innovation in the 21st century that will drive tomorrow’s economies.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Typically, when you look for role models, you want someone who has your interests and came from the same background. Well, look how restricting that is. What people should do is take role models a la carte. If there’s someone whose character you appreciated, you respect that trait.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The need to create a new taxonomy that isn’t just applying to our own solar system will become so evident and apparent that something will come out of it. I’m sure of it, even if it’s not tomorrow.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
When everyone agrees to a single solution and a single plan, there’s nothing more efficient in the world than an efficient democracy.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
For me at age 11, I had a pair of binoculars and looked up to the moon, and the moon wasn’t just bigger, it was better. There were mountains and valleys and craters and shadows. And it came alive.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Everything we do, every thought we’ve ever had, is produced by the human brain. But exactly how it operates remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries, and it seems the more we probe its secrets, the more surprises we find.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I never got into ‘Star Wars.’ Maybe because they made no attempt to portray real physics. At all.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Stephen Hawking’s been watching too many Hollywood movies. I think the only kind aliens in Hollywood are the ones created by Steven Spielberg – ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘E.T.,’ for example. All other aliens are trying to suck our brains out.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Not enough people in this world, I think, carry a cosmic perspective with them. It could be life-changing.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
If you only think of me during Black History Month, I must be failing as an educator and as an astrophysicist.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Many academicians don’t even own a television, much less watch one.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Every account of a higher power that I’ve seen described, of all religions that I’ve seen, include many statements with regard to the benevolence of that power. When I look at the universe and all the ways the universe wants to kill us, I find it hard to reconcile that with statements of beneficence.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The history of exploration across nations and across time is not one where nations said, ‘Let’s explore because it’s fun.’ It was, ‘Let’s explore so that we can claim lands for our country, so that we can open up new trade routes; let’s explore so we can become more powerful.’
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Do you realize that if you fall into a black hole, you will see the entire future of the Universe unfold in front of you in a matter of moments and you will emerge into another space-time created by the singularity of the black hole you just fell into?
Neil deGrasse Tyson
As history has shown, pure science research ultimately ends up applying to something. We just don’t know it at the time.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I'm not as famous as Stephen Hawking, but certainly in

I’m not as famous as Stephen Hawking, but certainly in the U.S., I have a very high profile for a scientist. It is an awesome responsibility, one that I don’t shoulder lightly.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Passion is what gets you through the hardest times that might otherwise make strong men weak, or make you give up.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I get enormous satisfaction from knowing I’m doing something for society.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I’m on a crusade to get movie directors to get their science right because, more often than they believe, the science is more extraordinary than anything they can invent.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
One of my great laments is that education today seems to have… be less about passion and more about process, more about tactic or technique.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
We account for one-sixth of the forces of gravity we see in the universe. There is no known objects accounting for most of the effective gravity in the universe. Something is making stuff move that is not anything we have ever touched.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Half of my library are old books because I like seeing how people thought about their world at their time. So that I don’t get bigheaded about something we just discovered and I can be humble about where we might go next. Because you can see who got stuff right and most of the people who got stuff wrong.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I see all this talk about jobs going overseas as a symptom of the absence of innovation. And the absence of innovation is a symptom of there being no major national priority to advance a frontier.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Kids should be allowed to break stuff more often. That’s a consequence of exploration. Exploration is what you do when you don’t know what you’re doing.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Although I’m not actually embarrassed by this, I tend not to read books that have awesome movies made from them, regardless of how well or badly the movie represented the actual written story.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I like to believe that science is becoming mainstream. It should have never been something that sort of geeky people do and no one else thinks about. Whether or not, it will always be what geeky people do. It should, as a minimum, be what everybody thinks about because science is all around us.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
As an educator, I try to get people to be fundamentally curious and to question ideas that they might have or that are shared by others. In that state of mind, they have earned a kind of inoculation against the fuzzy thinking of these weird ideas floating around out there.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Pacific is the best toilet for satellites.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
If the only time you think of me as a scientist is during Black History Month, then I must not be doing my job as a scientist.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I don’t care what town you’re born in, what city, what country. If you’re a child, you are curious about your environment. You’re overturning rocks. You’re plucking leaves off of trees and petals off of flowers, looking inside, and you’re doing things that create disorder in the lives of the adults around you.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
If you want a nation to have space exploration ambitions, you’ve got to send humans.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The cross pollination of disciplines is fundamental to truly revolutionary advances in our culture.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
When Kennedy said, ‘Let’s go to the moon,’ we didn’t yet have a vehicle that wouldn’t kill you on launch. He said we’ll land a man on the moon in eight years and bring him back. That was an audacious goal to put forth in front of the American people.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Scientists in different disciplines don’t speak the same language. They publish in different journals. It’s like the United Nations: You come together, but no one speaks the same language, so you need some translators.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
In all civilizations we’ve studied, all cultures that we know of across the Earth and across time have invested some kind of attempt to understanding where where, where they come from, and where they are going.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The theory of evolution, like the theory of gravity, is a scientific fact.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
When you put money directly to a problem, it makes a good headline. It makes a good campaign slogan. You get to claim that you’ve engaged in these activities within an election cycle. But certain investments take longer than an election cycle.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I’m constantly claimed by atheists. I find this intriguing. In fact, on my Wiki page – I didn’t create the Wiki page, others did, and I’m flattered that people cared enough about my life to assemble it – and it said, ‘Neil deGrasse is an atheist.’
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Computers have proved to be formidable chess players. In fact, they’ve beaten our top human chess champions.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is one of 50 or 100 billion other galaxies in the universe. And with every step, every window that modern astrophysics has opened to our mind, the person who wants to feel like they’re the center of everything ends up shrinking.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
If Mars formed life, then life on Earth could have been seeded by life on Mars, making every life form on Earth descended from Martians.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
While I’m a big fan of science fiction, especially as rendered in expensive Hollywood blockbusters, it’s the real universe that calls to me.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
With regard to robots, in the early days of robots people said, ‘Oh, let’s build a robot’ and what’s the first thought? You make a robot look like a human and do human things. That’s so 1950s. We are so past that.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
People who are scientists today are scientists in spite of the system, typically, not because of it.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
One of the greatest features of science is that it doesn’t matter where you were born, and it doesn’t matter what the belief systems of your parents might have been: If you perform the same experiment that someone else did, at a different time and place, you’ll get the same result.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Innovations in science and technology are the engines o

Innovations in science and technology are the engines of the 21st-century economy; if you care about the wealth and health of your nation tomorrow, then you’d better rethink how you allocate taxes to fund science. The federal budget needs to recognize this.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I try to show the public that chemistry, biology, physics, astrophysics is life. It is not some separate subject that you have to be pulled into a corner to be taught about.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Pluto’s orbit is so elongated that it crosses the orbit of another planet. Now that’s… you’ve got no business doing that if you want to call yourself a planet. Come on, now! There’s something especially transgressive about that.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
As an American, I grew up in an era where we led the world in everything. Everything!
Neil deGrasse Tyson
We define ourselves as intelligent. That’s odd, because we’re doing the definition – We’re creating our own definition and saying, ‘We are intelligent!’
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I want people to see that the cosmic perspective is simultaneously honest about the universe we live in and uplifting, when we realize how far we have come and how wonderful is this world of ours.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Big ideas, big ambitious projects need to be embedded within culture at a level deeper than the political winds. It needs to be deeper than the economic fluctuations that could turn people against an expensive project because they’re on an unemployment line and can’t feed their families.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Private enterprise in the history of civilization has never led large, expensive, dangerous projects with unknown risks. That has never happened because when you combine all these factors, you cannot create a capital market valuation of that activity.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Keep in mind that if you take a tour through a hospital and look at every machine with on and off switch that is brought into the service of diagnosing the human condition, that machine is based on principles of physics discovered by a physicist in a machine designed by an engineer.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
‘Boldly going where hundreds have gone before’ does not make headlines.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I lose sleep at night wondering whether we are intelligent enough to figure out the universe. I don’t know.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Science is basically an inoculation against charlatans.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The supermoon is a 16-inch pizza compared with a 15-inch pizza. It’s a slightly bigger moon; I ain’t using the adjective ‘supermoon.’
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I don’t want to be the embarrassment of the galaxy to have had the power to deflect an asteroid, and then not and end up going extinct. We’d be the laughingstock of the aliens of the cosmos if that were the case.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I know of no time in human history where ignorance was better than knowledge.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I’m perennially intrigued how people who lead largely evidence-based lives can, in a belief-based part of their mind, be certain that an invisible, divine entity created an entire universe just for us, or that the government is stockpiling space aliens in a secret desert location.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
In any city with lots of skyscrapers, lots of skyline, the moon seems bigger than it is. It’s called the moon illusion.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The universe is large and old, and the ingredients for life as we know it are everywhere, so there’s no reason to think that Earth would be unique in that regard. Whether of not the life became intelligent is a different question, and we’ll see if we find that.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
All Plutophiles are based in America. If you go to other countries, they have much less of an attachment to either the existence or preservation of Pluto as a planet.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Adults, who outnumber kids four or five to one, are in charge. We wield the resources, run the world, and completely thwart kids’ creativity.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
If God is the mystery of the universe, these mysteries, we’re tackling these mysteries one by one. If you’re going to stay religious at the end of the conversation, God has to mean more to you than just where science has yet to tread.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Space only becomes ordinary when the frontier is no longer being breached.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
People credit me for making the universe interesting when in fact the universe is inherently interesting, and I’m merely revealing that fact. I don’t think I’m anything special for this to happen.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I’ve been a minimalist my whole life, even if you wouldn’t know it from my office.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The history of exploration has never been driven by exploration. But Columbus himself was a discoverer. So was Magellan. But the people who wrote checks were not. They had other motivations.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Most gravity has no known origin. Is it some exotic particle? Nobody knows. Is dark energy responsible for expansion of the universe? Nobody knows.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
As a scientist, I want to go to Mars and back to asteroids and the Moon because I’m a scientist. But I can tell you, I’m not so naive a scientist to think that the nation might not have geopolitical reasons for going into space.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The supermoon is a 16-inch pizza compared with a 15-inch pizza. It’s a slightly bigger moon; I ain’t using the adjective ‘supermoon.’
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The problem is not scientifically illiterate kids; it is scientifically illiterate adults. Kids are born curious about the natural world. They are always turning over rocks, jumping with two feet into mud puddles and playing with the tablecloth and fine china.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
All tweets are tasty. Any tweet anybody writes is tasty. So, I try to have each tweet not simply be informative, but have some outlook, some perspective that you might not otherwise had.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Any astrophysicist does not feel small looking up at the universe; we feel large.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
For most of human civilization, the pace of innovation

For most of human civilization, the pace of innovation has been so slow that a generation might pass before a discovery would influence your life, culture or the conduct of nations.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
It’s actually the minority of religious people who rejects science or feel threatened by it or want to sort of undo or restrict the… where science can go. The rest, you know, are just fine with science. And it has been that way ever since the beginning.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Space only becomes ordinary when the frontier is no longer being breached.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Just think for how long humanity was controlled by mystical, magical thinking – the diseases and suffering that led to. We managed to survive, but just barely. It wasn’t pretty.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
With regard to robots, in the early days of robots people said, ‘Oh, let’s build a robot’ and what’s the first thought? You make a robot look like a human and do human things. That’s so 1950s. We are so past that.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
In science, if you don’t do it, somebody else will. Whereas in art, if Beethoven didn’t compose the ‘Ninth Symphony,’ no one else before or after is going to compose the ‘Ninth Symphony’ that he composed; no one else is going to paint ‘Starry Night’ by van Gogh.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The chances that your tombstone will read ‘Killed by Asteroid’ are about the same as they’d be for ‘Killed in Airplane Crash.’
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The very nature of science is discoveries, and the best of those discoveries are the ones you don’t expect.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Rational thoughts never drive people’s creativity the way emotions do.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
You will never find scientists leading armies into battle. You just won’t. Especially not astrophysicists – we see the biggest picture there is. We understand how small we are in the cosmos. We understand how fragile and temporary our existence is here on Earth.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
There’s something about witnessing something in the sky that makes people think they’re seeing something unique or special. I don’t really understand the psychology of it, to be honest.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
There’s a lot of memorization that goes on in school. You memorize vocabulary words and all these sorts of things.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
There is no greater education than one that is self-driven.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I don’t comment on the physics errors of ‘Star Wars,’ all right. I just – you let that one go.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
You’ve never seen me debate anybody. On anything. Ever. My investment of time, as an educator, in my judgment, is best served teaching people how to think about the world around them. Teach them how to pose a question. How to judge whether one thing is true versus another. What the laws of physics say.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
In the animal kingdom, one of the keys to survival is to outwit your enemies. And when you’re surrounded by carnivores, one of the best strategies is to fade into the background and disappear.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
It’s always interesting just to see how the human mind is relating to the natural universe, and what we try to make of it just so we can believe we understand what’s going on.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
We live on this speck called Earth – think about what you might do, today or tomorrow – and make the most of it.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The idea that science is just some luxury that you’ll get around to if you can afford it is regressive to any future a country might dream for itself.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
You have not fully expressed your power as a voter until you have scientific literacy in topics that matter for future political issues.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
It may be that our cosmic curiosity… is a genetically-encoded force that we illuminate when we look up and wonder.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I’m often asked – and occasionally in an accusatory way – ‘Are you atheist?’ And it’s like, ‘You know, the only ‘ist’ I am is a scientist, all right?’ I don’t associate with movements. I’m not an ‘ism.’ I just – I think for myself.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
It’s the great tragedy – people employed in ways that don’t fully tap everything they do best in life.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
In nature, when you conduct science, it is the natural world that is the ultimate decider in what is true and what is not.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I don’t know anybody who said, ‘I love that teacher, he or she gave a really good homework set,’ or ‘Boy, that was the best class I ever took because those exams were awesome.’ That’s not what people want to talk about. It’s not what influences people in one profession or another.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Being at the top of your game intellectually, philosophically, politically, is not a forever thing.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
For me, the most fascinating interface is Twitter. I have odd cosmic thoughts every day and I realized I could hold them to myself or share them with people who might be interested.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Private enterprise can never lead a space frontier. It’s not possible because a space frontier is expensive, it has unknown risks and it has unquantified risks.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
It was unthinkable not long ago that a biologist or pal

It was unthinkable not long ago that a biologist or paleontologist would be at the same conference as an astrophysicist. Now we have accumulated so much data in each of these branches of science as it relates to origins that we have learned that no one discipline can answer questions of origins alone.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
There are a lot of things you can do in space, and space essentially is unlimited resources. We are climbing over ourselves here looking for the next source of energy. The universe has an unlimited source of energy.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Fortunately, there’s another handy driver that has manifested itself throughout the history of cultures. The urge to want to gain wealth. That is almost as potent a driver as the urge to maintain your security. And that is how I view NASA going forward – as an investment in our economy.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
It’s part of our pop culture to give animals human personalities and talents.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
‘Cosmos’ wouldn’t deserve its place in primetime evening network television were it not a landscape on which compelling stories were told. People, when they watch TV in the evening, want to see stories, and science simply tells the best stories.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
No astrophysicist would deny the possibility of life. I think we’re not creative enough to imagine what life would be like on another planet. Show me a dead alien. Better yet, show me a live one!
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The center line of science literacy – which not many people tell you, but I feel this strongly, and I will go to my grave making this point – is how you think.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Where there’s water on Earth, you find life as we know it. So if you find water somewhere else, it becomes a remarkable draw to look closer to see if life of any kind is there, even if it’s bacterial, which would be extraordinary for the field of biology.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
There’s a lot to do in space. I want to learn more about the greenhouse effect on Venus, about whether there was life on Mars, about the environment in which Earth and the Sun is immersed, the behavior of the Sun.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
You have people who believe they are scientifically literate but, in fact, are not. And I don’t mind if you’re not scientifically literate, but just admit that to yourself, so that you’ll know, and perhaps you can take a first step to try to eradicate that.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
If we find life out there, and it’s not us, we will deem it not intelligent. But what may be equally as likely is that we find life that’s vastly more intelligent than we are. If that’s the case, we are putty in their hands.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The problem is that many people operate on the assumption that NASA should go to Congress every year with hat in hand and justify it every year. Well, I see it as the greatest economic driver that there ever was. Economic drivers don’t need justification.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I said that if an alien came to visit, I’d be embarrassed to tell them that we fight wars to pull fossil fuels out of the ground to run our transportation. They’d be like, ‘What?’
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Mars once was wet and fertile. It’s now bone dry. Something bad happened on Mars. I want to know what happened on Mars so that we may prevent it from happening here on Earth.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Let’s say intelligence is your ability to compose poetry, symphonies, do art, math and science. Chimps can’t do any of that, yet we share 99 percent DNA. Everything that we are, that distinguishes us from chimps, emerges from that one-percent difference.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Fortunately, there’s another handy driver that has manifested itself throughout the history of cultures. The urge to want to gain wealth. That is almost as potent a driver as the urge to maintain your security. And that is how I view NASA going forward – as an investment in our economy.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I claim that all those who think they can cherry-pick science simply don’t understand how science works. That’s what I claim. And if they did, they’d be less prone to just assert that somehow scientists are clueless.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I think the greatest of people that have ever been in society, they were never versions of someone else. They were themselves.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The only driver stronger than an economic argument to do something is the war argument, the I-don’t-want-to-die argument.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
All of the full moons for the entire year are special in that they have particular names.
Neil deGrasse Tyson