One of the world’s most renowned scientists and astrophysicists, Neil deGrasse Tyson, has a talent for presenting complex concepts in an easy-to-understand manner.
If you’re looking to expand your scientific thinking or want to make sense of your place in the Universe, luckily for you, you can watch Neil’s course on the learning platform MasterClass.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at Neil deGrasse Tyson’s MasterClass Review, go through the pros and cons of taking it, and share feedback from people who’ve already taken it. Let’s begin!
Who is Neil Degrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson was a young boy when he first took a trip to the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History. The rest is history. He quickly developed a deep interest in stars, planets, and the Universe, got his own first telescope, and spent his teenage years watching the skies from the rooftop of his apartment building.
Tyson graduated from The Bronx Highschool of Science in 1976 and then earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Harvard University and a Doctorate in Astrophysics from Columbia University in 1991. He later landed a job in the Hayden Planetarium, where his curiosity about the cosmos further expanded.
Tyson eventually became the Director of The Hayden Planetarium and worked on an extensive renovation of the facility. The renovation offered visitors a cutting-edge look at astronomy. One of Tyson’s most controversial decisions at the time was removing Pluto from the official list of planets. He classified Pluto as a dwarf planet, which invoked a strong response from some visitors. The international Astronomy Community followed Tyson’s lead in 2006 and officially labeled Pluto as a dwarf planet.
Tyson has also hosted the Nova Science Now Documentary Series on PBS from 2006 to 2011. In addition to breaking down barriers between scientists and the general public, Tyson has brought diversity to astrophysics. He is one of the few African-Americans in his field. He has also served as the presidential advisor to President George W. Bush on the future of the aerospace industry and examined the United States’ policy on space exploration.
In 2009, Tyson started hosting the podcast StarTalk Radio. In 2014, he hosted a 13-episode National Geographic Series, Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey. Aside from that, he has also written several books, including Death By Black Hole (2006) and The Pluto Files (2009).
Overview of the Class
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Masterclass runs for 2 hours and 14 minutes, so you can most probably finish the course in two to three sittings. This course is composed of 13 video lessons, each video ranging between 7 to 15 minutes. Here’s the curriculum:
- What You Know Is Not as Important as How You Think
- The Frontier of Science
- The Scientific Method
- Be a Skeptic: Ask Questions
- Cognitive Bias
- Beware of Cultural Bias
- Our Systems of Belief
- Scientific Measurement: Calculating the Incalculable
- Communication: It’s Not Enough to Be Right
- Preparing for Your Audience
- Communication Tactics
- Inspire Curiosity in Your Audience
- The Future of Our World
The ultimate goal of this course is to teach students how to challenge the way they think about the Universe and their place in it. Tyson encourages us to question everything and acknowledge our biases. Moreover, he also wants us to learn how to transform data into tangible information and find common ground regardless of our political, religious, or scientific differences.
Moreover, depending on your subscription plan, you can get a 24-page PDF workbook with additional information, such as a mentor biography, a chapter review of the lessons, and a glossary of terms to refer to.
On top of that, you also get to access the community hub, where you can mingle with users who took the same course as you. You can discuss ideas about the lessons in the hub and ask questions.
Pros and Cons
Some users claimed that Neil deGrasse Masterclass is one of the best courses on MastterClass. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest advantages of taking it.
- Learn From A True Expert
Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the most in-demand science experts. He gives talks across the country and is a media favorite whenever an important science issue is covered in the news. Tyson is known for making complex concepts accessible to every audience due to his oratory skills and sense of humor. That said, he is more than capable of teaching this course, and having the opportunity to learn something new from him is absolutely worth it.
- Practical Tips On Effective Communication
It’s a well-known thing that Tyson is a great communicator. One of the best things about his class is that he doesn’t just teach theory but also gives practical tips on how to be a better communicator so that anyone can quickly grasp your idea and easily understand what you mean.
There aren’t many disadvantages of taking Neil’s course. However, some have mentioned that:
- Workbook Is Too Short For A Massive Topic
The lessons taught by Tyson in this course are technical and quite heavy to digest. A more elaborated workbook would have been a great help to understand him more thoroughly.
- No Assignments Given
Many other classes on MasterClass provide workbooks that consist of assignments and homework. However, in Tyson’s workbook, no additional assignments are given, which many see as a disadvantage.
Who is This Class for
- Scientists who need help with developing their way of thinking. In his class, Tyson talks about establishing a scientist mindset and how to prepare for the biases that may come your way.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson Fans.
- People who are interested in science and astrophysics. As mentioned earlier, Tyson is one of the most powerful names in those fields.
- People who want to learn how to better communicate their thoughts and ideas without confusing their audience.
Regarding the level of knowledge, this course is suitable for people with little to intermediate knowledge about astrophysics and science. However, if you’re a scientist, you probably won’t learn anything new in this course if you’re a scientist.
How Much Does the Class Cost
There are three subscription plans offered by MasterClass. Those include:
- The individual plan
This plan costs $15 per month and is billed annually. If you go for this plan, you can access the video lessons through one device only. However, note that this plan won’t allow you to download videos and PDF workbooks for offline viewing.
- The Duo Plan
For $20 per month, billed annually, you can access MasterClass on two devices. On top of that, you can also download the video lessons and PDF workbooks.
- The Family Plan
This plan is ideal for families and friends. Six devices can access the website for $23 per month again, billed annually. However, note that all six are under one profile only. Therefore, sharing an account and activity log is a must. Similar to the duo plan, you are also allowed to download videos and workbooks.
Subscribing to any of those three plans gives you an all-access pass on all the courses offered on MasterClass. There are currently over 150 classes taught by A-listers from various industries. You can find cooking, singing, acting, photography, design, and more classes.
Here’s what people who’ve taken Tyson’s Masterclass have been sharing online:
“Neil deGrasse’s Tyson’s MasterClass is one of the best. Interesting!!!”
-Robert Alai (Twitter Post)
“Watched and participated in Neil Degrasse Tyson Masterclass on Thinking. It was amazing! To me, and with my CURIOSITY of space, I think he is a wonderful role model!”
-Adam Moreno (Twitter Post)
On the other hand, some gave a neutral comment, saying it’s good but didn’t meet their expectations.
“He does speak in an entertaining way, and knows how to create curiosity – for the general public, not for a person aspiring to be a scientist.
I would recommend this Masterclass to someone who wants to be some form of a Pop Scientist/Media person and wishes to see how they can communicate with a broad audience and the general public.
I would definitely not recommend this Masterclass to someone aspiring to be a scientist.”
Is Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Masterclass worth it? We think so. It might not be the most suitable course for experienced scientists and astrophysicists, but we believe that people who are genuinely curious about the Universe would love the class.
Tyson is a charismatic talker, and the way he explains the concepts he covers in his class is mesmerizing. Not to mention that he also teaches you how to become an excellent communicator like himself.
If, for some reason, you couldn’t really get into this course, remember that there are over 150 other courses you can take on MasterClass. Happy learning!