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Center for Human Imagination

73: Astrophysicist Moiya McTier, Folklorist of the Cosmos


Moiya McTier

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Moiya McTier is in the final year of her PhD in astrophysics at Columbia, but she is already a science communication star. With a background in folklore, she is an accomplished storyteller working to bring more science into science fiction. Moiya joins me on the INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE podcast to discuss her research on the Milky Way, her upcoming popular science book, and how her background influences her career choices. Subscribe to my mailing list to receive show notes for this episode: https://briankeating.com/mailing_list.php

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 06:42 Combining science and folklore into science fiction.
  • 14:10 Moiya explains her research on the Milky Way.
  • 19:51 How a unique childhood encouraged creativity.
  • 26:20 Can anyone be an effective science communicator?
  • 33:14 World building is “the art of playing God.”
  • 39:11 Equity and diversity in science and science fiction.
  • 45:38 What ethical will does Moiya plan to leave behind?
  • 47:49 What object or knowledge would Moiya put on her monolith?

Moiya McTier is in her fifth year of a PhD program in astronomy at Columbia University. She studied astrophysics and folklore at Harvard. Her podcast, Exolore, fosters world building - bringing science into science fiction. She is an accomplished science communicator and public speaker. Listen to the Exolore podcast here: https://www.exolorepod.com/episodes Find Moiya on the web: https://www.moiyamctier.com and Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoAstroMo Question to pin in the comments: What is your favorite science fiction universe?

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