Interview: Astronomer Talks About Science, Skepticism, TV’s The Big Bang Theory

The entire universe in blog form
Dec. 9 2012 10:47 AM

Hear My Sonorous Voice in Three Interviews

Phil Plait eats fire
Words are not all that come out of my mouth.

Image credit: Phil Plait

What with the Maya Notpocalypse™ almost here, I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately about how nothing will happen. It’s a living.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Over the past few weeks I’ve also talked about science, skepticism, TV shows, and more on a handful of different podcasts. Here are a few for your listening enjoyment, and there are more to come.


NASA Blueshift

My astronomy buddy Sara Mitchell interviewed me and broke it up into several bite-sized listening chunks for the NASA Blueshift podcast. Part 1 came out a little while back, and she just posted Part 2. In this one we talk about science in TV shows, and I talk a little about lending an astronomical hand to Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory.”

You can subscribe to Blueshift on iTunes.


I did a short interview on the famous EarthSky podcast about some silliness revolving around a planetary alignment over the Pyramids (my part starts around the 14:15 mark). The planets Venus, Saturn, and Mercury are all still visible in the east before dawn, so if you’re up early, take a look!

Groks Science

The folks at Groks Science talked to me about skepticism and bad thinking in general. This turned out to be interesting: they took what I said and wove a narrative around it giving the Q&A a framework. It’s nicely done. I talked a bit about using emotional arguments (a technique some skeptics incorrectly dismiss out of hand), because facts don’t speak for themselves. They need an advocate.

I’ll have a few more links to interviews coming up soon, including a TV show! That one was fun. You’ll see.


War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.


It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

The Only Good Thing That Happened at Today’s Soul-Crushing U.N. Climate Talks

  News & Politics
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM Why Is Autumn the Only Season With Two Names?
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?