Published by: Julia
Neil deGrasse Tyson´s masterclass is a highly stimulating course that will make you think differently. It provides an insight into the latest scientific findings and astronomy. As well as showing you how to communicate effectively.
Using my all-access pass, I have taken more than half of the 70+ masterclasses that are available. They have all provided great value for money. In particular, because my all-access pass has allowed me to take dozens of courses for the price I would have paid if I had bought just two individual classes.
Having the pass has encouraged me to find out about subjects I had no previous knowledge of. For example, filmmaking, athletics, and ballet. Neil deGrasse Tyson Teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication Masterclass certainly appeared to fall into that category.
I was expecting it to be all about science. In particular, astrophysics, which is Neil´s specialist subject. He did touch on this and other scientific subjects, but this course really is mainly about changing how you think about things and how to communicate effectively. It was not the easiest masterclass to follow, but, it is certainly thought-provoking. I think a lot of people would find it interesting and anyone who is in a leadership role would probably find it to be quite beneficial
Understand how your brain is wired for thought
All humans are curious. We are hard-wired to ask questions to seek out answers.
The most important moments of your life are decided not by what you know, but by how you think.Neil deGrasse Tyson – Masterclass.com
In this masterclass, Neil´s aim is to help you to open up your mind. To ask the right questions and seek out objective truth. He shares the methods and tools he uses to go from ignorance to an understanding of what is going on. To find objective truth. He also explains how to crunch what you have learned down and communicate it effectively to others.
Basically, he wants to empower you to think for yourself. To ask the right questions and test what you are told.
This is a great masterclass for people who are hungry to learn.
How data leads you to theories and answers
Most of us think of science as being all about facts and data. To a large extent, it is. But, it is about much more than that. Many of our biggest breakthroughs have come about from thinkers taking that data and coming up with theories. To understand what is most likely to have happened. They provide a platform for exploration, which uncovers further data sets and facts.
Scientific thinking is all about asking the right questions. You make an observation, ask yourself why it is that way, think about why that might be the case, then experiment to find out if your hypothesis is right. Monitoring the results enables you to analyze things further and reach the right conclusion.
In the workbook, Neil shares a really easy to understand example of how this works. More importantly, it is a practical application of scientific thinking. An example that you can use to help you in your everyday life.
Examples of how to turn a hypothesis into a theory
In this section of the course, Neil shares some examples of how hypotheses become theories. For example, how scientists realized that there were planets they could not see when Newton´s Laws were not working as expected.
A theory is the highest level of understanding of anything we have in this world.Neil deGrasse Tyson – Teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication
Be ready to re-evaluate when things do not add up
Scientists who are at the forefront, at the frontier, face many challenges. Often things do not add up or pan out the way they are expecting. When that happens, they have to reevaluate. One way of doing this is revisiting the data and asking yourself if it is flawed. Using the example of Neptune Neil demonstrates how that can be done.
Why you need to be a skeptic and ask more questions
Asking questions is the only way to uncover more. Again, it comes back to testing the data. Comparing what you have found against what others have uncovered.
How to take account of your own bias
Checking your conclusions and findings in the context of your own prejudices is also important. We are all biased to some extent. Realizing and handling this is tricky.
At this point, I found the workbook to be more useful and understandable than the video. Neil is really good at simplifying things, but sometimes he does not provide enough evidence for me to be satisfied that what he is saying is 100% right. Usually, I found the additional information I needed in the workbook.
Neil shows you six different ways humans tend to be biased. they include:
- thinking something is happening because you are special
- cognitive bias
- confirmation bias
- tuning in to things that are most important for you
If you want to be able to get closer to objective truths, you need to be able to say to yourself, in the face of new data, I was wrong.DeGrasse Tyson – Scientific Thinking Masterclass
How to manage your cultural bias
If you believe that your culture is superior, it has a huge impact on how you think, what you do and how you treat others. It has the potential to be a very dangerous way of thinking. You have to be very aware of this and learn to think around your bias.
Handling bias that arises from your belief system
This is one of the trickiest kinds of bias to handle. Your religious tenets are likely deeply held. They are a big part of your personal truth. It is important to recognize and understand this so that you can adjust for this way of thinking when looking at facts. The example Neil uses, which involves Lincoln, is an especially interesting and relevant one.
Don´t become blinded by politics
Neil talks about how easy it is for us to be brainwashed. He advocates being wary of being told the same thing over and over again, without proof. Something that a lot of politicians, dictators and bigots have done successfully through the centuries.
What is the scientific method?
The scientific method involves you doing whatever it takes to get yourself to where you need to go. There is no teacher´s guide. You have to work out what experiments are needed.
In the case of science, your experiments need to allow nature to show you the way. This is not an easy concept for me to explain here. But, Neil provides an excellent example in his video.
How to communicate difficult concepts to others
There is no point in making discoveries if you cannot explain them to anyone else. If you find yourself in this situation, much of your hard work will have gone to waste.
You need to learn to be a good communicator. Over the years, Neil has become very good at this. In this section of the course, he shares some very important tips.
Know your audience
Understanding how the people you are speaking to think, is an important part of being able to communicate effectively with them. This is a vital part of your preparation.
You need to look at the demographics of your audience. Their belief systems and the level of understanding they are likely to have of the subject you are covering.
Doing this will help you to identify the language that is likely to work best. It will also enable you to come up with examples that your audience can relate to, which will make it far easier for them to understand your message.
Don’t forget to use the written word
It is clear that Neil has learned to tap into modern forms of communication. He is very active on social media, makes videos, TV shows and regularly speaks publicly. But, he still writes a lot. He believes that the written word is still the ultimate communication tool. It has a proven track record for reaching people. Even generations after it was written.
Communication tactics that always work
This was probably the best part of the course. All of the communication tactics Neil shares are easy to apply. They include:
- How to use humor
- Energizing your delivery
- How to create curiosity
- How to create and use soundbites
- Non-verbal communication cues that work
Neil also explains why practice matters and how to do it. He also shows you how to assess how effective your delivery has been. Doing this is critical if you want to learn how to continue to improve your communication skills.
How to generate curiosity in your audience
Neil likes to take his audience on a journey. He stimulates their curiosity, by gradually taking them through different stages of information. In the video, Neil steps you through a very good example.
Who is Neil deGrasse Tyson´s masterclass for?
This masterclass is not for everyone. But, I still enjoyed it. As a writer, I have to gradually uncover information and take the reader on a journey. So, I learned quite a bit from this course.
Anyone who wants to become a more effective communicator will likely also benefit from taking this masterclass. But it would also be of interest to someone who enjoys science.