Home Forums Deep Time Journey Forum What did you think of COSMOS last night?

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    • #2274
      Jennifer Morgan

      Carl Sagan’s original cosmos series helped to inspire so many to study science and to think about the human presence inside our vast universe. The series that started last night, hosted by Neil de Grasse Tyson (who was incredibly generous in advising me on my first book and later endorsed it) is an attempt to do the same for today. What did all of you think about the first in the series and if you’re a teacher, do you see using it in your classroom? And how does it bolster teaching Big History, Cosmic Education, or Journey of the Universe for you? At first I was concerned that it would be too frenetic, too much sci-fi, but then it seemed to settle down, or maybe I settled into the rhythm of it, and I thought that the timeline beautifully, and mind blowingly, demonstrated how much happened in the universe before humans arrived. The simple black tape in the Montessori classroom also achieves that purpose. But back to the question, how does this series impact your teaching? Does it help to bring Cosmic Education front and center, and most importantly can it move from “Add on” status to “Primary Context” status such that all subjects are taught inside of this context. This is the core idea behind all the lineages represented on the Deep Time Journey Network — Big History, Cosmic Education, and the Universe Story/Journey of the Universe.

    • #2276
      Richard Ohlrogge

      It was a momentous event with so many people anxiously awaiting the start of the series. I actually attended the advanced of this first episode at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on this past Tuesday and what was particularly impressive to me was of the almost 1000 people attending I would guess that as much as 75% were young people under the age of 30. The excitement in the audience was palpable!! I watched it again last night with family and friends and the reaction was positive but still many had deeper questions which hopefully will be addressed in future episodes. Neil and Ann Druyan and the rest of the people creating this series did a fabulous job with the production which certainly spurs the imagination although I am not sure how deeply the awareness underlying the story will penetrate children’s minds at the different age levels. I just did a search of your Resources section and I could not find any reference to the Big HIstory Project. Since they have spent the last 3 years beta-testing curricula on this theme in high schools I would love to hear from educator’s who are involved in that project. In fact the Director of the Big HIstory Project, Bob Bain, had some interesting comments in a presentation he made last year at an educator’s conference in New York. Here is the link –

    • #2278
      Linda Fitch

      I eagerly awaited this program as yet another potentially important effort to “tell the science based story of the Cosmos” – interestingly presented, I thought, on the Fox Network. The images, as it began, were spectacular but I was initially unhappy with what I experienced as very loud and unduly dramatic music, drowning out, I thought, the story teller. But I agree with Jennifer that it calmed down after a bit, and the narrative became more understandable. Several things: I was fascinated by the portrayal of the Catholic Church fathers as such dramatically evil villains….not that I disagree… but it was very interesting to see this particular bit of history expressed in “cartoon” form and wondered how it would be received by the public in general. Particularly by the religion vs science folk. I thought that in general the portrayal of the scale of time was very powerful, though it would have been so easy to add the image of a dinosaur or two during Tyson’s walk through the forest- as an appeal to kids in a classroom.

      Overall I would say hurray! And I, with Jennifer, will be very interested to hear from classroom teachers as to the use of the series in the classroom.

    • #2279
      Sam Guarnaccia

      Thank you, Jennifer, for the evocative questions and reflection, and wonderful to have Richard and Linda’s wisdom! We resonate with everything said so far, and since we have no cable or TV service, watched on a streamed FOX app, and for the first time in a long time, were drowning in commercials. Along with the exotic ultra high tech production, at first felt somewhat ‘over-stimulated’, but as with others, got used to it. (Having said this…..I LOVE to be overstimulated, but like to choose the occasion). Because this is so critically important, it worried me that the profound insights of the Journey might be lost in the ‘super production’, in the ‘similarity’ to ‘all the other’ spectacles that have become common media fare (‘Avatar’ to phenomenal NG productions….). As a final ‘reservation’, I could have done without the invocation (in the introduction) of the HERO, especially of the scientist as American hero. OK, it is no accident that FOX got this magnificent vehicle for its agenda, or that the sponsor for Rachel Maddow’s show is an OIL company.

      It is beautiful, profoundly important and effective in all the stated ways, though the hero vs. villain presentation, especially for young minds, perpetuates a ‘bumper-sticker’ history, the story of Separation, in a show designed to open the heart-mind to a NEW STORY. I would definitely use it in the classroom; any level, and it is fabulous that it is emerging now. I love Neil deGrasse Tyson’s exuberant and brilliant being, and am honored to know someone whose books and work he endorsed!
      Thank you, Richard, for sharing your wonderful experience at the American Museum of Natural History. Can’t wait until the next one!

    • #2280
      Michael Duffy

      I think it is wonderful that a commercial network like Fox is carrying this latest attempt to publicize the story that science has developed about the evolving universe, updating Carl Sagan’s work. The general public needs to be familiar with the broad outlines of this story, and this series should go a long way to achieving that goal with a bigger audience than PBS could provide.
      I found the first episode a little disjointed in the way it bounced back and forth in time in huge leaps, working its way back to the Big Bang and then jumping forward to human emergence and back to life in general. And the middle section on the scientific debate within the medieval church was interesting, but a bit overdone, it seemed to me. Perhaps this was meant to be just an overview to introduce a more systematic presentation of the elements of Big History / the Universe Story.
      I look forward to future episodes.

    • #2288
      Fred Adam

      Hello, from my point of view of audiovisual and multimedia creator, i believe that there is a great opportunity to think about documentaries like this one as a open door to the access of online didactic media for teachers and students. Yes, watching this documentary is really great, the cinematic is beautiful but how to really involve students after watching it, what kind of documents related to the movie we can use ? I saw that there is a app called “ The Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” but i can’t get it because it is restricted to the US then i don’t know what kind of documents we can find inside. I am very interested by some experiments combining a TV program with a website or a smartphone app. A technology called “Audio Watermarking” permits to synchronize in real time information from a movie or a documentary to another screen, computer, tablet or whatever. Some inaudible sound frequencies for the human ear are coded into the soundtrack and can be recognized by digital devices with microphones. Being able to trigger some “learning modules” along the Cosmos documentary and selecting the one we are interested in for further study in the classroom could be a very nice improvement for this documentary. Today the Audio Watermarking is mostly used to contaminate with advertising but it could be really easy to make a interesting use of this technology in the context of Big History. I just played with Photoshop and made a graphic of what the multi-screen experience could be with Cosmos, have a look:


      more references about this technology:
      Cosmos app: http://www.fox.com/cosmosontv/cosmos-message

    • #2303
      Rod Sugden

      Looks fascinating! Does anyone know how to receive the programme in the UK?

    • #2305

      Dear Rod, Orla and Everyone in other countries. You can watch the COSMOS series here. Please confirm that it works for you.

    • #2325
      Orla Hazra

      i could not get to the link you sent…but tonight it will be on Fox national Geo from GB. Looking forward to it! orla

    • #2326
      Orla Hazra

      COSMOS is on SKY 1 network at 7pm in Ireland…don’t watch tv much so got it mixed up with Fox. Sorry! o

    • #2327

      Thanks so much Orla!

    • #2340
      Terrence J. Moran

      I just got around to seeing the first episode of Cosmos. In general I thought it was well done and communicated a lot of information on the new cosmology well for people who needed an initial exposure. I thought he also implicitly gave examples of how there is more to life than positivistic science – that Carl Sagan taught him not only that he wanted to be a scientist but what kind of person he wanted to be. The whole section on Giordano Bruno was quite inaccurate since he was not burned at the stake for his cosmology (not that he should have been burned at all!) but rather for heretical views about the divinity of Jesus, the virginity of Mary, and the eternity of hell – and as a Dominican he should have worn a white habit!

    • #2800
      Jennifer Morgan

      The Cosmos Series and Climate Change

      Two nights ago I attended a screening of an upcoming episode of the Cosmos Series about climate change followed by a panel with Neil de Grasse Tyson and producer of the series Mitchell Cannold. The power of placing EVERYTHING inside the cosmic context was clear — the danger of climate change getting out of control is that Earth could be propelled on a path toward the same fate as Venus where Earth’s feedback loops that keep it in a state that’s hospitable for life could be overwhelmed. At an extreme, water boils off and all life perishes. It’s actually possible. This show is one of the best explanations of the dangers of climate change I’ve seen, explaining the difference between weather and climate, and explaining the magnitude of the human contribution to the problem. Unfortunately I can’t tell you which episode of the upcoming episodes it will be. There are only a few left. If you miss it, you can look on the Cosmos website to watch it even after it has aired.

    • #2821
      Angela Manno

      Airing Sunday —

      Watch: The Neil deGrasse Tyson climate denier takedown we’ve been waiting for is finally here


      From the Salon.com article (link above):
      In the upcoming episode of “Cosmos,” host Neil deGrasse Tyson is taking on climate deniers directly — and National Geographic just released the first clip. If these two minutes are any indication of what the rest of the episode (airing Sunday) is going to be like, we can expect a simple, elegant takedown of their most tired and misinformed arguments.

      Regarding your post above, Jennifer, I have always known the most likely predicable outcome for the Earth would be to end up like Venus, if we keep doing what we’re doing.

      It’s terribly sad, but not unlike the individual that keeps smoking and putting toxic chemicals into his or her body.
      Someday the consequences will appear and it will be very hard to stabilize and get back to health. It will require
      a complete “lifestyle change” and even then healing is not certain.

      That person/patient will also have to understand and start to care about his or her health.Just as we will have to do collectively. Fortunately, people seem to be waking up.

    • #2840
      Orla Hazra

      I watched cosmos last night back in India. He certainly addressed all the theories of the deniers. I found the visuals very dramatic and evocative– in particular the blue colour given to gasses as they emerged from industry, planes cars and bldgs-making the invisible visible. He also brought up the issue of responsiblity…which of course is the the response value from the reverence value all of us share once understanding ourselves within the big history of the deep time journey. How many more episodes are there left?

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