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Neil deGrasse Tyson on stars, Santa's location and jokes for third graders

April 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 13.2%. 1 min read.

speaks onstage during the Onward18 Conference - Day 1 on October 23, 2018 in New York City.

The famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, asks how many planets out there might harbor life forms -- and when they might visit -- in his new book, "Cosmic Queries."

Tyson is better known, however, for the work he does in his other life as a good-natured ambassador of user-friendly science, explaining difficult concepts about the universe to nonspecialist readers, viewers and listeners.

CNN spoke with Tyson about his new book in a spirited conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity.

CNN: Your new book has its origins in your science podcast "StarTalk," which has a huge international following.

The book grew from those questions -- some of which don't really have answers.

You charge into many such questions fearlessly in your new book.

It's natural that astrophysicists ask big questions: How did the universe begin?

CNN: What's the thorniest question you raise in the book?

It's not just one question.

I'd say that the last third of the book circles around whether we're even asking the right questions.

What scientific question outside of your field of expertise would you like some other scientist to address?

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