Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Interview

Back in September I wrote about how Ella had sent an interview request to Neil deGrasse Tyson of the Hayden Planetarium and his office had said yes and then we never heard back. Uncle Ty decided he was a man on a mission, and put a link to my post on a lot of forums he frequents, including the Texas Concealed Handgun Forum. And it worked! We got a nice e-mail from the head of media at Star Talk Radio letting us know that they hadn't forgotten about Ella.

We did happy dances of joy around the house.

And then nothing again.

So Uncle Ty once again decided he was on a mission and started pestering the Star Talk folks.

Last Monday we received an e-mail from Dr. Tyson's office asking if Ella was available to do a 30-minute Skype session on Friday.

There was wild joy and celebration. Uncle Ty is now definitely Ella's favorite uncle (who is actually a cousin once removed, not an uncle).

As we counted down the minutes until our scheduled time, I was a nervous wreck. Ella was calm as could be, acting like interviewing world-famous astrophysicists was an every day thing.

We had some trouble connecting to his office. You would think Skype would be relatively glitch free, but no.

When we finally connected, I might have actually gasped out loud, "Oh my gosh, it's HIM." Maybe.

My biggest worry was that Dr. Tyson would be all "OK. Let's get this over with." I wanted Ella to finish the interview still thinking he was her hero.

Turns out I shouldn't have worried. Dr. Tyson was incredibly generous with his time - Ella's interview lasted about 45 minutes. He was funny and charming. He could tell that Ella was nervous, so he warmed her up with a few questions.

I sat off to the side, holding my phone up to record the interview because we hadn't been able to get the app that records Skype to work and grinning like an idiot. It's a good thing Dr. Tyson couldn't see me.

Ella asked him about string theory, the Large Hadron Collider, going to Mars, Harry Potter, living in Austin, and he answered every single question.

It was just awesome.

At the end of the call, he told Ella to take a screen shot of their faces together. She got a big kick out of it.

Ella has posted a transcript of part of the interview over at her website, The Magnolia Post. I have posted the full interview over on YouTube. The picture is lousy, but the audio is great. You can even hear me snort laugh when Ella tells Dr. Tyson an inappropriate joke about the Higgs-Boson. In her defense, she didn't realize why the joke was inappropriate.

Thank you to Dr. Tyson, Elizabeth Stachow, Jeff Simons and Uncle Ty. You all made a 12-year-old science nerd's dream come true.


F said...

That's so beautiful! And awesome.

knittergran said...

Dr. Tyson is GREAT! What a generous and nice man.

knittergran said...

And Ella's questions were great---even the ones I didn't understand.

Elisa @ Crazy, Amazing Life said...

Wow! That's so amazing! Go Ella!
I'm off to read the interview transcript!

jennyp said...

He was on Big Bang Theory!

ckh said...

I'm so glad this finally worked out! He's my favorite astrophysicist now, too. I can't wait to see the YouTube clip!