About This Episode
Can you hear colors? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice explore science through art in Van Gogh’s Starry Night with art historian Roberta Olson, astronomer Jay Pasachoff, and neuroscientist Heather Berlin. How do artists reflect on our universe?
How do artists depict celestial objects? Discover how artists have interpreted the cosmos over the ages and how science and art collide. Was the star of Bethlehem a comet? We discuss the drawings of astronomers and how illustration aided in the sciences. Was Isaac Newton an artist? Find out about the history of comets through the Nuremberg Chronicle. When did artists start putting their subjective pawprint on their work?
Was the night sky like television in earlier times? How are the cosmos used symbolically? We discuss the Enlightenment and the meaning of comets, meteor showers, and other celestial events historically. Find out about Van Gogh’s nocturnes. Did he really paint what he was seeing? Or did Van Gogh bend the truth? Did he have synesthesia (seeing colors with sound)? We break down the accuracy of the moon and the stars in Starry Night. Is the gibbous moon really the worst moon to paint?
To finish, Heather Berlin brings us the neurosciences of what happens in the mind of an artist. Does creativity come from the right side of the brain and logic from the left? Heather debunks some creativity myths for us and helps us understand the default mode network versus the salience network. Is there a neurological cost to being more creative? Could you make a person more creative artificially? Is it possible for AI to be more creative than human beings? How do synesthesia and chromesthesia work in the brain? Was the jump from traditional art to impressionist art a creative leap or just plain lazy? All that, plus, we break down how we would inject a joke into Chuck’s head!
Thanks to our Patrons Rob Carter, Will, Matthew Power, David Born, CARLOS A HERNANDEZ, jon delanoy, and Trisha Donadio for supporting us this week.
NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.