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To Know and Understand Science: A Conversation between Stephen Colbert and Neil deGrasse Tyson In an on-stage interview, circa 2010, comedian Stephen Colbert began an interesting conversation with Astro-Physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson by asking, “Is it better to know, or not to know?” While humor and pleasantries were in high supply during the entire talk, profound statements about the state of the scientific world tied the laughs to moments of deep thought. The United States of America has gone through several transitions with its view of science through its lifespan as a nation state. When industry is pushed by invention, scientists are an important resource for growth; when war requires advanced physics and chemistry to make bigger weapons than an enemy, physicists and chemists are the weapon smiths of a coming age. It is often forgotten that before these times of scientific glory, the technical thinkers were just as engrossed with their educational work as when the fruits of their labor became apparent to the public. People must understand the joy and importance of learning for the sake of learning, so that advanced knowledge can be utilized by subsequent generations.
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