"A word of our times: DELUSION — being sure something is true in the face of all evidence that says it is not," famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted recently. An avid tweeter (and cosmologist, author, director of NYC's Hayden Planetarium, and host of the Fox miniseries Cosmos), Tyson couldn't have better summed up in fewer than 140 characters the mindset his life's work attempts to debunk as he explains mysteries of the universe and corrects popular scientific misconceptions.
His knowledge is vast and, though some who don't know better might automatically write the topics off as boring, his lectures and explanations are fascinating. Case in point: the Broward Center's upcoming An Evening With Neil deGrasse Tyson: An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies, in which Tyson takes all of your favorite movies and highlights the science they got wrong — and right. Think everything from the science fiction of Star Wars to the astronomy of The Martian to the science behind the computer-generated ice of Frozen.
"Rather than being a science lecture, this journeys through contemporary American popular culture with science as the signposts as he focuses on movies and TV shows that most people know and love," says Savannah Whaley, senior vice president of Pierson Grant PR and public relations spokesperson for the Broward Center.
Consider Tyson Hollywood's premier scientific fact-checker, one who just might reveal the science behind movies you didn't even know had science in them at all. Whether you're a science buff or a movie buff — and especially if you're both — or you simply have a good old-fashioned love for pop culture, you'll find something to delight in this evening. And you don't have to be a Tyson fan to enjoy it; in fact, this is the perfect time to get acquainted with his brilliant mind.
"If someone is unfamiliar with Dr. Tyson, they will know and have fond memories of the great sci-fi moments from TV and film," Whaley says.
And a typical lecture this certainly is not. As talented as he is at tweeting (named by Time as a "Top Tweeter") and decoding the obscurities of science, he's equally adept at communicating in an engaging manner. As Whaley points out, Tyson has held his own with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report. A man passionate about his interests, he's known for keeping an audience rapt as he illuminates his point of view while presenting its complexities in an uncomplicated way.
"This promises to deliver an incredible experience as Dr. Tyson brings his perspective to things that mean so much to us and adds to our love of such moments as Luke Skywalker looking up at the double sunset," says Whaley, who calls herself a fangirl of Tyson's. "Our hope is that the audience members can't wait to tell friends and family about the mind-blowing things they learned."
An Evening With Neil deGrasse Tyson
8 p.m. Tuesday, November 16, at the Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222; browardcenter.org. Tickets cost $45 to $250.