Sara Cabrera is a Sydney City Skywatcher member and an active observer. Her curiousity to always learn more about astronomy took her recently to the United States where, amongst many other adventures, Sara attended a lecture in San Jose by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson titled 'Why an Astrophysicist should read the newspaper'. Sara reported back with enthusiasm:
"The talk was based on how US newspaper and media operators use Astronomy and Science to make an impact on selling news and enhancing readership but in doing so they release articles with information which has very little proven scientific evidence. These articles inform people, and those who are not scientifically literate may use this false information unwisely, and these ill-informed attention-seeking articles are therefore dangerous. Neil covered topics highlighting examples of this, including the following.
Here is Sara's recount of three topics which resonated with her:
Firstly deGrasse Tyson spoke about UFOs and questioned why there are very few reports about these anymore. Secondly he spoke about global warming, and that whilst this is of great concern, many of the articles written are ill-informed about the predictions and catastrophes to come. Thirdly he discussed how the media uses religion and superstition to deny basic proven fundamentals on evolution and our place in the Universe, this is particularly an issue in the US"
The conclusion of the talk was that we should all champion scientific literacy at all levels, ages and stages of life, particularly when reading, listening to or watching the media. The experience left a long-lasting impression on Sara who was fortunate enough that Neil deGrasse Tyson agreed to have his photo taken with her.