50+ Neil DeGrasse Tyson Quotes That Are Out Of This Universe

by Team Scary Mommy
Originally Published: 
neil degrasse tyson quotes

When we were kids we were taught that there were nine planets in our Solar System. We woke up each day knowing that certain things in life were a given: the Sun would rise in the east and set in the west, two plus two would always equal four, and Pluto was the cutest little planet at the edge of our Solar System. Then famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson waltzed into the picture in the early aughts and destroyed the dreams of children everywhere when he argued that Pluto, in fact, was not a planet. And the rest, as they say, is interplanetary history.

Luckily for him, the funny, enthusiastic, and brilliant director of New York City’s famed Hayden Planetarium is so likable he has garnered fans in the millions who follow his writing, his popular series Cosmos, Startalk Radio podcast, and his ideas and teachings on science education, philosophy, parenting, and everything in between. Not to mention he does a mean job of ripping apart the science in every single science fiction movie Hollywood releases. Basically, this is one cool scientist.

So if you’re looking for some wisdom that is out of this world, we rounded up our favorite deGrasse quotes on life, death, science, parenting one-liners, and of course, the universe.

Fox/National Geographic

1. “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

2. “The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”

3. “Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.”

4. “We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.”

5. “We spend the first year of a child’s life teaching it to walk and talk and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down. There’s something wrong there.”

6. “Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not.”

7. “The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.”

8. “The more I learn about the universe, the less convinced I am that there’s any sort of benevolent force that has anything to do with it, at all.”

9. “… there is no shame in not knowing. The problem arises when irrational thought and attendant behavior fill the vacuum left by ignorance.”

10. “There’s as many atoms in a single molecule of your DNA as there are stars in the typical galaxy. We are, each of us, a little universe.”

11. “I would request that my body in death be buried not cremated, so that the energy content contained within it gets returned to the earth, so that flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined upon flora and fauna during my lifetime”

12. “I look up at the night sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up—many people feel small, because they’re small and the Universe is big, but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.”

13. “My view is that if your philosophy is not unsettled daily then you are blind to all the universe has to offer.”

14. “Knowing how to think empowers you far beyond those who know only what to think.”

15. “I want to put on the table, not why 85% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences reject God, I want to know why 15% of the National Academy don’t.”

Comedy Central

16. “God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance.”

17. “We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out—and we have only just begun.”

18. “I know that the molecules in my body are traceable to phenomena in the cosmos. That makes me want to grab people on the street and say: ‘Have you HEARD THIS?”

19. “I’m often asked by parents what advice can I give them to help get kids interested in science? And I have only one bit of advice. Get out of their way. Kids are born curious. Period.”

20. “Kids are never the problem. They are born scientists. The problem is always the adults. They beat the curiosity out of kids. They outnumber kids. They vote. They wield resources. That’s why my public focus is primarily adults.”

21. “Whether or not you can never become great at something, you can always become better at it. Don’t ever forget that! And don’t say “I’ll never be good”. You can become better! and one day you’ll wake up and you’ll find out how good you actually became.”

22. “When scientifically investigating the natural world, the only thing worse than a blind believer is a seeing denier.”

23. “Ignorance is a virus. Once it starts spreading, it can only be cured by reason. For the sake of humanity, we must be that cure.”

24. “Where ignorance lurks, so too do the frontiers of discovery and imagination”

25. “Down there between our legs, it’s like an entertainment complex in the middle of a sewage system. Who designed that?”

26. “Dinosaurs are extinct today because they lacked opposable thumbs and the brainpower to build a space program.”

27. “When students cheat on exams it’s because our school system values grades more than students value learning.”

28. “Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive”

29. “Yes, Einstein was a badass.”

30. “I love the smell of the universe in the morning.”

31. “If you need to invoke your academic pedigree or job title for people to believe what you say, then you need a better argument.”

32. “The most boring constellation: Triangulum Australis. A profound lack of imagination — any three stars in the sky makes a triangle.”

33. “Apollo in 1969. Shuttle in 1981. Nothing in 2011. Our space program would look awesome to anyone living backwards thru time.”

34. “If each dead person became a ghost, there’d be more than 100-billion of them haunting us all. Creepy, but cool.”

35. “In Terminator, only living things can time-travel. But hair is dead. So Arnold should’ve landed in LA not only naked but bald.”

36. “If aliens did visit us, I’d be embarrassed to tell them we still dig fossil fuels from the ground as a source of energy.”

37. “Principles of modern law assert that you’re innocent until proven guilty. Yet airport security is the exact opposite of this.”

38. “I think of space not as the final frontier but as the next frontier. Not as something to be conquered but to be explored.”

39. “According to the song, Rudolph’s nose is shiny, which means it reflects rather than emits light. Useless for navigating fog.”

40. “Just an FYI: Roman Numerals have no zero because it was not yet invented, allowing year 2000 to be written efficiently as MM.”

41. “Slowest pitch in Baseball to reach catcher? 30mph, thrown at a 45-deg angle. Any slower at any other angle hits the ground.”

42. “If you removed all the arteries, veins, & capillaries from a person’s body, and tied them end-to-end…the person will die.”

43. “Curiously, light-loving GREEN plants reject the Sun’s GREEN light, reflecting it back at you, which is why they look GREEN”

44. “If gridiron were a timeline, w/ Big Bang at one goal, then cavemen to now spans thickness of single turf-blade at other goal.”

45. “So you’re made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?”

46. “The remarkable feature of physical laws is that they apply everywhere, whether or not you choose to believe in them. After the laws of physics, everything else is opinion.”

47. “Science needs the light of free expression to flourish. It depends on the fearless questioning of authority, and the open exchange of ideas.”

48. “Unlike what you may be told in other sectors of life, when observing the universe, size does matter, which often leads to polite ‘telescope envy’ at gatherings of amateur astronomers.”

49. “When your reasons for believing something are justified ad hoc, you are left susceptible to further discoveries undermining the rationale for that belief.”

50. “People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not scientific and that Noah’s ark carried dinosaurs. This case is not about the need to separate church and state; it’s about the need to separate ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers.”

51. “The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”

52. “One of the biggest problems with the world today is that we have large groups of people who will accept whatever they hear on the grapevine, just because it suits their worldview—not because it is actually true or because they have evidence to support it. The really striking thing is that it would not take much effort to establish validity in most of these cases… but people prefer reassurance to research.”

This article was originally published on