I recently finished watching all thirteen episodes of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey in Netflix. This is of course the follow-up to Carl Sagan's famous 1980 series Cosmos. Neil deGrasse Tyson narrates the 2014 series with a passionate sincerity that makes it clear that with every word, he's talking about his favorite things in the whole universe.
The writing, visuals, and Tyson's style of delivery make Cosmos almost impossibly accessible for anyone old enough to question their world. I highly recommend this series, especially for school-aged kids—but really for anyone.
Even though I never saw Sagan's original series, I read Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time when I was a teenager. I think it was one of the most important books I read as a kid because it sparked curiosities that remain with me to this day. Tyson has every bit of Sagan and Hawking's ability to talk about very complicated subjects at an almost fifth-grade level of simplicity.
But what I like about Tyson the most is that beyond being a brilliant astrophysicist and speaker, he is a champion of science—almost on a spiritual level.
I think works like Cosmos are some of the most important in our time. Despite existing in the most technologically advanced stage of human civilization, science remains threatened by powerful factions fueled by faith-based fear, politics, and greed. Humanity has experienced periods of intellectualism before—and fallen from them. Perhaps the most important lesson we can take from ancient Greece is that knowledge should not be the privilege of the elite, whose numbers will forever be too few to protect knowledge from those all too eager to give ignorant masses a reason to fear the truth.