January 11, 2014 5:41 pm

Season Five begins with… The Starry Night?

StarTalk Radio Starry Night

The Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh

A starry night or The Starry Night? Why not enjoy both?

As astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says in answer to a fan’s question in this Sunday’s Season 5 premiere, Cosmic Queries: Art and Science, his appreciation of art enhances his capacity to appreciate the splendor and beauty of the art of the cosmos.

The intersection of art and science is a subject about which Neil has thought a great deal. Your questions, as read by comic co-host Chuck Nice, give him the opportunity to share his ideas about computer-generated art and whether you can have art without emotion, the influence of math upon art, the Golden Ratio, sculptures inspired by physics and celestial movements and so much more.

Neil and Chuck discuss the difference between scientific accuracy and the emotions that great art inspires, using Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night. You may already know that a “copy” of The Starry Night graces the wall of Neil’s office at The Hayden Planetarium, but even if you didn’t, after listening to Neil’s description of its emotional power, you can understand why he’d risk life in prison for… well, you’ll just have to listen to the episode to find out what I mean.

It’s a great episode, bouncing from discussions of The Big Bang Theory and the alien flora and fauna created by James Cameron in Avatar, to the depiction of comets in Giotto’s Adoration of the Magi and The Bayeux Tapestry, to da Vinci and M.C. Escher and the Hubble Space Telescope. There’s even a bit about the Music of the Spheres and sacred geometry.

Season 5 of StarTalk Radio premiers with the Cosmic Queries: Art and Science this Sunday, January 12th at 7:00 PM ET on our website, iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!

–Jeffrey Simons

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