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The limits of science: Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History

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. I know of no time in human history where ignorance was better than know­ledge. Would I like to know if an asteroid is coming that could render life on earth extinct? Certainly. Armed with awareness of this fact, I might seize the opportunity to do something about it – a way of thinking common among scientists, engineers and technologists. If anyone walks among us who prefers not to know, then leave them behind in the cave while the rest of us step forward, discovering all that the universe reveals while using our minds to save the world (if necessary) but, as a minimum, to make life better for us all.


This article first appeared in the 07 May 2012 issue of the New Statesman, The Science Issue