Don’t expect many scientific revelations, though. Like our own more wistful and winsome stargazer Brian Cox, the straight-talking Tyson has written some accessible guides to the elusive concepts of cosmology — Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is a good introduction — but when it comes to dealing with the public, so much time is spent defending and explaining the basics of empiricism and the scientific method that there’s little room left for digging into the detail.
And for a guardian of the truth, Tyson can be surprisingly cavalier with the facts, blithely asserting that no powerful nation has ever elected a scientist as its leader (Margaret Thatcher worked as a research chemist, and Angela Merkel was awarded her doctorate for a thesis on quantum chemistry)... Such slips aside, Tyson is an able and engaging defender of reason. What’s concerning is that, in the technological superpower that counts Benjamin Franklin among its founding fathers, he should still be needed so badly.