Neil deGrasse Tyson’s perspective on young scientists

I’ll be writing about children’s books about aliens and space soon. If you have a recommendation, e-mail it with a quick note about why you like your book. (Find my address in the upper right corner.)

Today I’m sharing a quick thought on how to raise a junior scientist, or at least encourage an inquisitive mind. It comes from Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, and charismatic host of the PBS show NOVA scienceNOW. He’s the Carl Sagan of today.

This video clip is a Time Magazine piece titled “10 Questions,” but there are really more like 5 questions. The first one is about parenting and it grabbed me.

At this point in time I would like to retract previous written statements referring to my 16-month-old son as a little monster and/or menace with grabby hands. He is in fact a fledgling scientist exploring the natural world.

Also of note is a Q&A in which Tyson cites his parents for supporting his interest in the universe rather than directing him to activities a little closer to their own fields of expertise.

Here’s a bonus clip where Tyson talks about meteors with two young children:

So, hey, e-mail me your space and alien children’s books recommendations today…

Comments

2 Responses to “Neil deGrasse Tyson’s perspective on young scientists”

  1. Teacher Jennifer says:

    Thanks, AJ. This is my kind of post.

    I am a big fan of the Hayden Planetarium, and mother to a 14 month old boy. I was once a day-care teacher with a whole room full of grabby-handed menaces aka. little scientists. It’s a beautiful thing to nurture.

    When a toddler spills a cup of water, a parent can either freak out about the mess (wrong) or watch it run off the table, then grab a paper towel to demonstrate capillary action (right).

    Keep up the great work… because I don’t have the time to search for these mind-enhancing tidbits on my own :)

    July 31st, 2009 at 12:47 pm

  2. Phil H says:

    Hey AJ – really enjoyed this. My two boys are definitely scientists in the making. Thanks for the reminder that stifling kids curiosity is NOT our job as parents.
    Phil

    August 4th, 2009 at 9:57 am

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