One thing in life is for certain, the more profoundly baffled you have been in your life, the more open your mind becomes to new ideas.
We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out--and we have only just begun.
I want to put on the table, not why 85% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences reject God, I want to know why 15% of the National Academy don't.
If you're really successful at bullshitting, it means you're not hanging around enough people smarter than you.
Aliens might be surprised to learn that in a cosmos with limitless starlight, humans kill for energy sources buried in the sand.
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.
There's an old saying in the space community: 'If God wanted us to be a spacefaring species, he would have given us a moon'.
You don't want to raise a kid in a culture where the kid who asks the most questions is annoying. You want a culture where the kid who asks the most questions gets awards and gets another piece of cake.
The more of us that feel the universe, the better off we will be in this world.
For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.
If your belief system is not founded in an objective reality, you should not be making decisions that affect other people.
The world, I think, has too many late-night talk shows.
If we have the power to turn another planet into Earth, then we have the power to turn Earth back into Earth.
Science reveals that all life on Earth is one.
I would request that my body in death be buried not cremated, so that the energy content contained within it gets returned to the earth, so that flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined upon flora and fauna during my lifetime.
So what is true for life itself is no less true for the universe: knowing where you came from is no less important than knowing where you are going.
Some morning while your eating breakfast and you need something new to think about, though, you might want to ponder the fact that you see your kids across the table not as they are but as they once were, about three nanoseconds ago.
Some air you inhale was exhaled by Cleopatra.
In five billion years, the sun will expand and engulf our orbit as the charred ember that was once Earth vaporizes. Have a nice day.
Need a distraction today? Not only does 12 + 1 = 11 + 2, but the letters twelve plus one rearrange to give you eleven plus two.
Just to settle it once and for all: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The egg, laid by a bird that was not a chicken.
Whether or not you can never become great at something, you can always become better at it. Don't ever forget that! And don't say I'll never be good. You can become better! and one day you'll wake up and you'll find out how good you actually became.
Math is the language of the universe. So the more equations you know, the more you can converse with the cosmos.
If each dead person became a ghost, there'd be more than 100 billion of them haunting us all. Creepy, but cool.
Like no other science, astrophysics cross-pollinate s the expertise of chemists, biologists, geologists and physicists, all to discover the past, present, and future of the cosmos-and our humble place within it.
Publicly and among themselves biologists rightly celebrate the diversity of life on Earth... At the end of the day, however, their confession is heard by no one: they work with a single scientific sample-life on Earth.
If there were biologists among the extremophiles organisms that live in extreme conditions, they would surely classify themselves as normal and any life that thrived in room temperature as an extremophile.
Wow, monitor lizards are pretty gnarly creatures. I want to go with the monitor lizard. That's just weird enough to be true. No?
There is no true understanding of Biology without Chemistry. And there's no true understanding of Chemistry without Physics.
When you organize extraordinary missions, you attract people of extraordinary talent who might not have been inspired by or attracted to the goal of saving the world from cancer or hunger or pestilence.
To govern a society shared by people of emotion, people of reason, and everybody in between--as well as people who think their actions are shaped by logic but in fact are shaped by feelings or nonempirical philosophies--you need politics.
Miniaturization of electronics started by NASA's push became an entire consumer products industry. Now we're carrying the complete works of Beethoven on a lapel pin listening to it in headphones.
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.
No one with a living room radio that was a piece of furniture at the time would say, gee. I want to carry that around on my hip pocket. That was not a thought until NASA initiated this whole exercise. So there's an influence that's not just spinoff.
The miniaturization of electronics, which ultimately was driven by the marketplace, was started by NASA, because it costs money to get something into orbit. So you want to trim your electronics, miniaturize your electronics, miniaturize your satellites.
In just one year, the expenditure of of the U.S.'s military budget is equivalent to the entire 50-year running budget of NASA combined.
When NASA says they're going into space, they don't mean up and back. They mean orbit.
Would a NASA reality show Lunar Shore be more popular than Jersey Shore? Civilization's future depends on that answer.
We are star dust in the highest exalted way, called by the universe, reaching out to the universe.
For your own safety, do not ever tell an astrophysicist, I hope all your stars are twinkling.
There's as many atoms in a single molecule of your DNA as there are stars in the typical galaxy. We are, each of us, a little universe.
Does the full moon affect people's behavior, you ask? Yup. It makes people think the full moon affects people's behavior.
I love the smell of the universe in the morning.
I think the best thing a parent can do, when raising a child, is simply get out of their way.
On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642.
Some of the greatest poetry is revealing to the reader the beauty in something that was so simple you had taken it for granted.
The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.
For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.
We spend the first year of a child's life teaching it to walk and talk and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down. There's something wrong there.
The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams.
I think of space not as the final frontier but as the next frontier. Not as something to be conquered but to be explored.
Dinosaurs are extinct today because they lacked opposable thumbs and the brainpower to build a space program.
Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not.
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.
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.
You can't come away with this cosmic perspective thinking that you are better than others and want to fight. That's why you'll never have astrophysicists leading nations into war.
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.
We explore our environment, more than we are compelled to utter poetry, when we're toddlers. We start doing that later. Before that happens, every child is a scientist.
It's the great tragedy -- people employed in ways that don't fully tap everything they do best in life.
I think the greatest of people that have ever been in society, they were never versions of someone else. They were themselves.
The methods and tools of science perennially breach barriers, granting me confidence that our epic march of insight into the operations of nature will continue without end.
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.
NASA has spin-offs, and it's a huge and very impressive list, including accurate and affordable LASIK eye surgery.
People generally don't recognize how long it takes to conceive, publish, and write a book.
I get enormous satisfaction from knowing I'm doing something for society.
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.
There's a lot of memorization that goes on in school. You memorize vocabulary words and all these sorts of things.
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.
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.
I always try to get people a different outlook. When you do that, people take ownership of the information. They don't ever have to reference me because, I'd like to believe as an educator, I'm empowering them to have those thoughts themselves.
Let's find a new way to think about the entire taxonomy of solar system objects, and not clutch to this concept of 'planet,' which, of course, only ever meant, 'Do you move against the background stars, regardless of what you're made of?'
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. That's what scientists do every day.
The cross pollination of disciplines is fundamental to truly revolutionary advances in our culture.
The humblest person in this world is the astrophysicist. Because we are face to face with our ignorance every single day.
If a scientist is not befuddled by what they're looking at, then they're not a research scientist.
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.
If you slid Pluto to where Earth is right now, heat from the sun would evaporate that ice, and it would grow a tail. Now that's no kind of behavior for a planet.
All the nine-planet people out there: Get over it. There's eight.
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.
In nature, when you conduct science, it is the natural world that is the ultimate decider in what is true and what is not.
Computers have proved to be formidable chess players. In fact, they've beaten our top human chess champions.
Space in general gave us GPS -- that's not specifically NASA, but it's investments in space.
When you innovate, you create new industries that then boost your economy. And when you create new industries and that becomes part of your culture, your jobs can't go overseas because no one else has figured out how to do it yet.