I’ve had a subscription to National Geographic magazine since 2012, and after two years I continue to love it. I’m also completely in love with “COSMOS: A Spacetime Oddesy” the new Fox/National Geographic show about the world and how it got here. What I enjoy most about both the magazine and the TV show is how accessible and exciting they make science, which can often be a dry topic.

Take this introduction from the March 2014 feature article in my Nat Geo magazine:

But this is nothing compared with the death throes of a star some 20 times the mass of the sun. Detonate a Hiroshima-like bomb every millisecond for the entire life of the universe, and you would still fall short of the energy released in the final moments of a giant-star collapse. The star’s core plunges inward. Temperatures reach 100 billion degrees. The crushing force of gravity is unstopable. Hunks of iron bigger than Mount Everest are compacted almost instantly into grains of sand. Atoms are shattered into electrons, protons, neutrons. Those minute pieces are pulped into quarks and leptons and gluons. And so on, tinier and tinier, denser and denser, until…

Until no one knows….The star has become a black hole.”

(Finkel, Michael. “Star Eater.” National Geographic March 2014: 99. Print).

This bit of writing about basic star science makes me excited. It makes me want to share this amazing end-of-star-life description with everyone (truth: I made my husband read this article as soon as I finished it). It makes me feel small and frail. It makes me want to learn, and study, and understand everything about a star’s death.

To me, this is exactly what scientific articles aimed at the general public are supposed to do–inspire people to learn more, to get involved. It’s also how I feel after “COSMOS” each Sunday night, which is why I think the show has been so popular. It takes huge complicated scientific theories and makes them real.

Are you a fan of National Geographic or any other popular science publications? Are you as excited as I am for the third episode of “COSMOS” tonight?

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