August 15, 2015 12:44 pm

Sunday’s Podcast: StarTalk Live! Explores Sociology and the Human Condition (Pre-recorded!)

Photo of StarTalk Live! performers at The Hammerstein Ballroom: Eugene Mirman, Wyatt Cenac, Dr. Alondra Nelson, Malcolm Gladwell, Neil deGrasse Tyson, taken by Alex Mihailescu from

StarTalk Live! on stage at The Hammerstein Ballroom. L to R: Eugene Mirman, Wyatt Cenac, Dr. Alondra Nelson, Malcolm Gladwell, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Photo Credit: Alex Mihailescu from

This Sunday’s episode is StarTalk Live! Sociology and the Human Condition, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson with co-host Eugene Mirman and guests author Malcolm Gladwell, sociologist Dr. Alondra Nelson and comedian Wyatt Cenac.

Because we’ve gotten quite a few emails from people asking how they can get tickets to the show, let’s get one thing straight right up front: this show was recorded live on October 3, 2104 at The Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC. So, unless you have a time machine, the only way to have gotten tickets to the show would have been when we told you about the show, right here on the blog, and across all our social media channels, probably more times than you wanted, back in last September when they went on sale. We gave you plenty of warning – one of our fans was able to come all the way from South Africa to see the show. He even wrote a guest blog post about the show.  (Speaking of tickets, you can still get them for our Nov. 21 StarTalk Live! at the Beacon Theater in NYC. Please get them now, so when we eventually do a podcast episode of the show, you don’t ask how you can get tickets!)

It was great to have comedian Wyatt Cenac back on stage with us at #StarTalkLive! He was our comedy guest at our third-ever StarTalk Live, way back on February 17, 2012, for Live at the Bell House: The Space Between Your Ears. (You can listen to Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.)

This time, instead of looking inside the brain and individuals, though, the StarTalk Live! crew explored the human condition as it’s studied through sociology: the study of social life, how a culture develops groups, families, institutions and more.

The headline guest for the show was Malcolm Gladwell, long-time staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and 5x New York Times Best-Selling author of Blink, Outliers, David and Goliath and The Tipping Point, among others.

If you’re a Gladwell fan, as I am, you’re in for quite a treat. But you might be less familiar with our other guest, Dr. Alondra Nelson, although I think you’ll be just as impressed with her. In fact, we liked Dr. Nelson so much we’ve already had her back on the show, as the in-studio guest for The Impact of Twitter on Society with Biz Stone.

Dr. Alondra Nelson is the Dean of Social Science and a professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University, where she has served as director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. An interdisciplinary social scientist, she writes about the intersections of science, technology, medicine, and inequality. You can find out more about Dr. Nelson here.

Even though the show was recorded last October, the subjects we cover are timely and relevant today: from a discussion of police interactions with people of color and whether racism is an innate reflex or a learned behavior, to gender bias in hiring, to institutional failures at NASA that led to disaster (in this case, the Space Shuttle Challenger), to the real story of one of the most famous battles ever fought in the Middle East, to people locked out of the system thinking outside the box and taking their issues to the streets of Ferguson.

Please join us tomorrow night, Sunday, August 16 at 7:00 PM ET on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and TuneIn.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons



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