Welcome to Clip from Spiral logo

Interactive video lesson plan for: Neil deGrasse Tyson: Competition in Science

Activity overview:

The astrophysicist puts on his "pure scientist" and his "American scientist" hat.

Question: Are Americans still leading in scientific innovation?DeGrasse Tyson:    If I put on my pure scientist hat as opposed to my American scientist hat, pure scientist hat, I say, if we don't build the land, somebody else will and the science will get discovered.  If we don't explore the moons, somebody else will.  It will get discovered.  That's one of the hallmarks of science that distinguishes it from art.  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.  So science, when done properly, is never owned by one nation or another.  So... That's what happened with particle physics in America.  We were building the largest super collider ever was, the Superconducting Super Collider, to be based in Texas.  Two hundred mile circumference ring, we accelerate particles, smash them and explore the conditions that were common in the early universe.  That budget got cancelled by congress as we were winding down out of the Cold War.  So no longer was the physicist [IB] the way they were after the Second World War going into the Cold War because it was the innovations of physicists that created the bomb in the Manhattan Project.  Physics basically ended the war.  So, without a war, certainly without a Cold War, there is a question as to what the value of the Super Collider was to the nation.  Now, I don't know how many people you get to admit that fact but my [read] of history is that when nations spent huge amounts of money on things, it's hardly ever for the pure value of exploration, there's usually secondary motives.  Primary motives that are presented secondarily like military, like economics or some other sort of factor that matters to national security.  So what happened?  Europe took up the task.  So, at CERN, which is the acronym for the super collider, the European consortion super collider in Switzerland, they now have the most powerful collider in the world.  They are the ones who are going to be probing the conditions near the Big Bang, not us.  So my pure scientist hat is I don't care who does it as long it's done, long as somebody does it.  The American scientist in me, 'cause I'm born and raised in America and I care deeply for this nation, is I kind of prefer that we did it because I know we can.  If we weren't wealthy or if we had... I'd say, you know, now is not the time.  Let some other wealthier, more powerful nation do it than us.  But is it time for me to say that?  Are we really that poor?  Are we really that... without means of a 3 trillion dollar budget to spend?  It's about the balance of that portfolio of spending that makes a nation, how much do you spend on art, health care, poverty, research and development, the veterans, military.  You layout the portfolio, that is the country that you live in.  Three trillion is enough to buy, as far as I'm concern, anything we want, anything we choose to.  And so, I wish it was here because if we make it here, the opportunities arise here, the engineering opportunities, the engineering solutions to problem we never seen before, that then create a climate, a landscape of innovation that... I remember growing up, America had, like, the longest bridge, the longest tunnel, the fastest planes.  And for awhile there, I thought, well, it's just [bragging] rights, what are you doing.  And then, I realize, in order to create the extremes of these technologies, you have to innovate.  You can't just step there, it's not... it's hardly ever just make it a little longer.  This was longer so it's more stress on the structure, there's... so we have to invent something new to accommodate this need or this desire.  And there, [you know,] the seeds of innovation

Tagged under: bigthink,5min,Big Think,BigThink,BigThink.,Neil deGrasse Tyson,competition,science,astrophysicist,pure scientist,American scientist,innovation,Hayden Planetarium,lab,moon,art,Beethoven,Van Gogh,particle physics,super collider,Cold War,Congress,exploration,military,economics,national security,CERN,Big Bang

Clip makes it super easy to turn any public video into a formative assessment activity in your classroom.

Add multiple choice quizzes, questions and browse hundreds of approved, video lesson ideas for Clip

Make YouTube one of your teaching aids - Works perfectly with lesson micro-teaching plans

Play this activity

1. Students enter a simple code

2. You play the video

3. The students comment

4. You review and reflect

* Whiteboard required for teacher-paced activities

Share on:

Share Neil deGrasse Tyson: Competition in Science on Google+ Share Neil deGrasse Tyson: Competition in Science on Twitter Share Neil deGrasse Tyson: Competition in Science on Facebook Pin Neil deGrasse Tyson: Competition in Science Email Neil deGrasse Tyson: Competition in Science

Ready to see what else Spiral logo can do?

With four apps, each designed around existing classroom activities, Spiral gives you the power to do formative assessment with anything you teach.


Carry out a quickfire formative assessment to see what the whole class is thinking


Create interactive presentations to spark creativity in class

Team Up

Student teams can create and share collaborative presentations from linked devices


Turn any public video into a live chat with questions and quizzes

1000s of teachers use Spiral to deliver awesome, engaging activities that capture students' understanding during lessons.

Now it's your turn Sign up

Spiral Reviews by Teachers and Digital Learning Coaches

Review of Spiral by teacher: Kathryn Laster @kklaster

Tried out the canvas response option on @SpiralEducation & it's so awesome! Add text or drawings AND annotate an image! #R10tech

Review of Spiral by teacher: Room 220 Math Stars @3rdgradeBCE

Using @SpiralEducation in class for math review. Student approved! Thumbs up! Thanks.

Review of Spiral by teacher: Miss Ord @ordmiss

Absolutely amazing collaboration from year 10 today. 100% engagement and constant smiles from all #lovetsla #spiral

Review of Spiral by teacher: Adam J. Stryker @strykerstennis

Students show better Interpersonal Writing skills than Speaking via @SpiralEducation Great #data #langchat folks!

Review of Spiral by teacher: Dr Ayla Göl @iladylayla

A good tool for supporting active #learning.

Review of Spiral by teacher: Brett Erenberg @BrettErenberg

The Team Up app is unlike anything I have ever seen. You left NOTHING out! So impressed!

Get the Clip Chrome Extension & Create Video Lessons in Seconds

Add Clip to Chrome