Neil deGrasse Tyson on Stem Cells

Astrophysicist and Science Educator
The astrophysicist speculates on the next great scientific breakthroughs.
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: Is stem cell research at the forefront of medical innovation?

DeGrasse Tyson:    This… All this talk about investing in medical breakthroughs, predominantly, through the National Institute of Health, that‘s the primary sort of government agency for medical research.  What I caution is… Fine, we all want to live healthy.  That’s not even [here] to debate.  But keep in mind that if you take a tour through a hospital and look at every machine with on and off switch that is brought into the service of diagnosing the human condition, that machine is based on principles of physics discovered by a physicist in a machine designed by an engineer.  Nowhere in that equation was there a medical doctor or a medical researcher.  And so, you can’t just fund one branch of scientific inquiry, you have to fund them all.  Because these advances… For example, the MRI came from principles of physics discovered by a physicist who had no interest in medicine.  That wasn’t his point.  That wasn’t what drove him.  Yet, it has this marvelous application that we could diagnose, release probe inside your body without cutting you open first.  So the cross pollination of disciplines is fundamental to truly revolutionary advances in our culture.  And so, you can’t fund any one thing without the other, [unless] you believe you were right on top of the solution when, in fact, you’re not.